Toloa scholarship recipient tells story

posted: 4:40 pm - 13th November 2017
Fuli Fuli family

For Fuli Fuli, a recipient of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples 2016 Toloa tertiary scholarship, this could not have come at a better time.

“I remember getting the call, and I was in total shock when I got the news, and it was the best thing ever.”

Fuli recalls how blessed in life he was for being awarded the scholarship and sharing the news with family.

“I felt incredibly overwhelmed. There was a huge financial burden lifted off my shoulders, knowing that I didn’t have to pay back $25,000 of the student loan. I was overjoyed, and grateful.”

Fuli, a NZ-born Samoan grew up in Otara, graduated in May this year with a Bachelor of Technology (Hons) and rolled over to study Masters of Computer Science at the University of Auckland.

Receiving the Toloa tertiary scholarship became Fuli’s incentive to study more.

“This scholarship has opened many doors for me,” says Fuli.

“It allowed me to continue with my postgraduate studies with confidence, knowing it will be at no cost.”

“I've been able to complete my Bachelor of Technology free of charge, thanks to the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and now I am studying towards my Master’s degree.”

“I was told that I was the only Pacific Islander who studied the Bachelor of Technology at the time and having the scholarship available enabled more of our Pacific people to get into this particular area of study.”

“My Masters journey is no different. I’m the only Pacific Islander studying a postgraduate in Computer Science, and this really encourages me to go further into doctoral studies.”

“I am thankful for being one of the Toloa scholarship recipients, as it has opened doors for me to apply for other scholarships like the Tuputoa program, which places Maori and Pacific graduates in corporate jobs as interns.”

“Last summer, I did an internship for Spark as a web developer. It has allowed me to apply for more scholarships at postgraduate level.”

Fuli has always been focused on getting into the IT industry.

“I chose to study a Bachelor of Technology because technology has always been a passion of mine.”

“The degree looks at the networking and computer science software side of technology, as well as business management. It’s a challenging 4-year degree that requires a high-level pass and maintaining a GPA of 5.0 or above in order to remain in the course.”

Fuli strives for excellence.

“I continue to push myself to get the best out of me. Technology in this day-and-age is becoming more important in the job market as industries move towards automation and greater dependency on computers. The need for skilled people in these fields is constantly growing.”

“I am progressing through a Masters of Computer Science, which is a one-year research-based degree which involves no taught papers but just a thesis to be handed in at the end of the year.”

“There are only 6 other people to be doing the one-year pure research masters, so it feels pretty good to have been accepted because it is more prestigious than any other type of Masters qualification. So, at the moment my study revolves around looking at ways of creating performance enhancing proxies that can resolve internet TCP latency in satellite links and this will be useful for ships, planes and most importantly, Pacific Islands that still rely on satellite for Internet, like Niue and the Cook Islands.”

“My aspiration is to become a network administrator, project manager, a software engineer, or even a web developer,” smiles Fuli.

“My degree has wide applications and will definitely help me get into the IT industry in many fields.”

The Ministry for Pacific Peoples have eight Toloa tertiary scholarships on offer, each valued up to $25,000, available for Pacific students wanting to pursue studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. Click here to find out more. Applications for the Toloa Scholarships closes on Friday 5 January 2018.