Two new Pasifika scholarship students have joined the Bachelor of Communication Studies degree programme at AUT University this year - and hope to inspire young people in their communities to follow their lead.
PIMA chair and Māori Television investigative journalist Iulia Leilua presented the prizes at the School of Communications Studies awards on March 31 – a special ceremony to celebrate student achievements and acknowledge supporters. “The AUT/PIMA award is to support a new generation of Pacific people in their studies and to show them a career in the media is achievable. People are creative, but they need support,” said Leilua.
The AUT sponsorship covers tuition costs for both Rangi and Puati until they graduate, subject to annual reviews of progress.
“Pasifika students have the potential to tell our stories in an authentic way, and they also have the potential to show that they can have a mainstream perspective as well, rather than just being pigeonholed for Pacific Islands material,” she added.
Natural performer Jordan Puati was born in London, raised in Wellington, before moving to the Cook Islands for his high school education.
A natural performer, Puati has travelled around the region performing Cook Islands music and dance, and is looking towards a career in TV presenting or advertising.
If he succeeds, Puati plans to use his profile to encourage youth in Pacific Island communities in New Zealand as well as the Cook Islands.
“It’s a big deal. For Cook Islanders, if they see someone else doing it, then it’s not so hard to do it themselves. It would feel good to give something back and to make things easier for other Pacific Islanders,” he said.
Although he is the only Pacific Islander in one of his classes, Puati sees it as a chance to give a Pasifika point of view.
“You don’t have to see your Pacific Island identity as a barrier. It’s a positive thing.”
Creative streak Krissy Rangi is Samoan-Maori and has shown a strong creative streak since her years at Selwyn College in Mission Bay.
“I started being interested in photography, but now I’m interested in moving images. It’s fascinating,” she said.
For Rangi, media is relevant to young generations because of its creative potential, although it “needs to be suitable for the younger audiences because they are growing up too fast".
While she is also outnumbered in her classes as a Pacific Islander, Rangi urges Pasifika students not to be “put off”.
“Just do it,” she said. “I’m loving it. The programme is everything I wanted to do”
Former recipients of the award have gone on to successful careers in the industry, including Leilani Moimoisea (Radio New Zealand), Kitekei’aho Tu’akalau (Pacific Media Network), Christine Gounder (Radio NZ), John Pulu (TNews/TVNZ) and Taberannang Korauba (Pacific Community News).
Among other scholarships presented was the inaugural Kiwi Asian Journalism Scholarship sponsored by the Asia New Zealand Foundation, which has been awarded to nurse Corazon Miller, a fluent Tagalog speaker.
The foundation also supports the AUT/China Daily Journalism Scholarships, organised by the Pacific Media Centre. Michelle Ong and Lucy Mullinger have won the three-month internships in Beijing this year.
Winner of this year's inaugural Indian Newslink Postgraduate Journalism Scholarship is Imogen Crispe and Alisha Lewis has won the TVNZ Diversity Journalism Scholarship. PMC director Dr David Robie presented the Asia NZ Foundation scholarships on behalf of media adviser Charles Mabbett and the Indian Newslink award for editor Venkat Rahman.
News chief Cliff Joiner presented the TVNZ scholarship.
Pictures: Top: PIMA's deputy chair Chris Lakatani (fom left), Jordan Puati, PIMA chair Iulia Leilua and Krissy Rangi. Middle: Iulia Leilua; senior lecturer Rosemary Brewer presents the top year one BCS award to Kimberlee Downs, winner of last year's TVNZ diversity award; PMC's Dr David Robie with the China Daily scholarship winners Lucy Mullinger and Michelle Ong. Below: Scholarship winners Krissy Rangi, Corazon Miller, Lucy Mullnger, Michelle Ong and Imogen Crispe. Photos: Josephine Latu and Del Abcede
For more information on the AUT-PIMA and other diversity opportunities, visit the AUT School of Communications Studies scholarships webpage.
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