It's a numbers thing
(Main picture caption: Hazel Umaga is presented with the BNZ Commercial and Corporate Award at the Prime Minister's Pacific Youth Awards.)
Hazel Umaga has ambitions of helping Pasifika in areas they have traditionally struggled with, to ensure they reach their true potential in life.
This year’s recipient of the BNZ Commercial and Corporate Award
supported by Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) at the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards, is in her final year of a Business degree at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).
The award recognises a young person who has shown significant academic achievement or business activity in the fields of commerce, accounting, marketing, international business or similar.
After graduating from McAuley High School, Hazel embarked on a journey she thought would lead her to a degree in Law.
However, while she was accepted into her second year of Law at the University of Auckland, she turned it down to instead go on a two-year church mission in the Philippines, with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
“Upon returning, I went back to studying, but not Law,” Hazel says.
“Instead I started studying Business, majoring in Accounting and Human Resource Management at AUT.
“I'd always had an interest in numbers and it was always something I got awards for but I was always in denial of this and wanted to explore other areas like Law.
“Now I've accepted my passion and I am using it to my advantage.”
Part of the reason Hazel chose to major in Accounting and HR, is because they are two areas she believes Pasifika struggle with.
“We struggle with budgeting money and can find ourselves in so much debt and then we also struggle with employment, so I hope to find ways to help Pasifika in these areas,” she adds.
Exactly how she will support Pasifika in these areas is a work in progress, she says.
“After studying it, I will look at developing initiatives to implement changes around these areas.”
Hazel can see herself either running her own business, being part of a senior management team or board of directors, or maybe a Chief Executive Officer.
“If I so happen to find myself as a CEO, I would employ more Pasifika and get them to upskill, or I would run a recruitment company which hosts workshops for , focused on upskilling and budgeting.”
While born and raised in New Zealand, Hazel has Samoan parents who brought her up instilling traditional Samoan values, especially having love for God, family and others.
These values are reflected in her life goal to help her people thrive.
As the BNZ Commercial and Corporate Award recipient, Hazel will receive a $5,000 contribution to study, and a three-month paid summer internship with MPP, commencing December 2018.
She hopes to gain a broader view and hands-on experience in the finance, accounting and HR areas.
“Other than observing, I want to be part of it all, participate, share and implement ideas and basically apply everything I've learnt in the past few years,” she adds.
Visit MPP for more information about the PMPYA initiative.