Pushing hard for Pasifika achievement in STEM

  • Hon Aupito William Sio
Pacific Peoples

The Minister for Pacific Peoples is pushing hard for greater Pasifika participation in STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) with a further boost this year of a new crop of national Toloa awardees being announced.

“These fields are where Pacific people have been under-represented for a long time and our communities are working hard to change all this with support from this Government,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio.

This year’s awards include 16 Community Fund Awards and 8 Tertiary Scholarships selected from 103 applications nationally.

“It’s been a tough call as the quality was very high. The Toloa Tertiary Scholarship winners are some exceptional individuals studying at an advanced level in some pretty head cracking fields.  I’m proud that we can support these talented young people. They are the next generation of Pacific innovators, creators and navigators.

“I’m also delighted by the range and quality of the Toloa Community Fund Awards. These initiatives are imaginative and far-sighted.  They show that our communities are really getting behind STEM careers for our young people.

“The point of difference in my Ministry’s approach to generating greater Pacific participation in STEM fields is our whole of life approach. This includes the Toloa Kenese programme which engages with young students, their parents and families.

The Toloa Awards comprise two categories:

  • Tertiary Scholarship Awards that support individuals studying at an advanced level in STEM subjects;
  • Community Fund Awards that support STEM programmes in local communities.

“Building awareness and confidence amongst our Pacific youth is vital. I’m excited by the number of community programmes that are focusing on just that. I think it’s one of our strengths. We have the ability to work together co-operatively for the good of our community and Aotearoa, and that plays a big part in lifting Pacific participation in STEM-related careers.

The Toloa Awards ceremonies will be held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

“This is the first year we have held regional awards ceremonies and it underlines both the success of the Toloa programme and the growing importance of Pacific communities playing a productive role in regional New Zealand,” says Aupito William Sio.


Toloa Community Fund Awards

Northern Region

Auckland Tokelau Society Incorporated


Coconut Wireless

Coding club

Fale Pasifika

STEM project workshop

Faith City Trust Board

STEM workshop

GirlBoss New Zealand

STEM focused workshop

New Zealand Tongan Tertiary Students Association

STEM Talanoa – students and parents

South Pacific Professional Engineering Excellence

Engineering Expo

Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust

STEM Expo & Workshop

Vahefonua Tonga Methodist Mission Trust

Tongan Song and Animation technology development

Central Region


Amanaki STEM Academy

STEM workshops

Atafu Tokelau Porirua Community Group

Tokelau STEM Makespace Project – App/coding development

Niue Kaufakalataha Wellington Region Incorporated

STEM Workshops

Wellington Region Pasefika Services Incorporated

STEM Projects

Fusion 3 Limited

STEM Resource Kits

Southern Region

Nelson Tasman Pasifika Community Trust

Aqua Bots Journey Across the Pacific workshops

Tino e Tasi Preschool

Digital Story Books

Total: 16


Toloa Tertiary Scholarships

Northern Region

Daniel Fruean (AUT)

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer & Information Service

Sunny Tavite (AUT)

Mater of Analytics (Mathematics

Fuli Fuli (UOA)

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer & Information Science

Fiapaipai Auapaau (AUT)

Master of Science

Central Region

Baby Carl Leiataua (VIC)

Master of Architecture

Anna Siohane-Royle (Massey)

Bachelor of Veterinary Science

Tala Tuala (Massey)

Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology

Southern Region

Charles Ching (UC)

Bachelor of Science

Total: 8


Toloa Awards Ceremonies

Auckland, Monday 11 March

Wellington, Monday 18 March

Christchurch, Monday 25 March