International Scholar Award (sponsored by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation) - Sela Maka, 20, from Palmerston North and is of Tongan descent. Photo/Pacific Cooperation Foundation

Tongan engineering student Sela Maka, who recently won a prestigious award for Pacific students, wants to use it to give other engineering students an opportunity to work on development projects in Tonga.

Maka won the Pacific Cooperation Foundation International scholar Award , which acknowledes a young person from the Pacific region who is an active leader in New Zealand and their home country.

Maka featured in Kaniva News last December for winning a 10 week internship with global engineering company GHD.

PCF Chief Executive Don Mann said all candidates demonstrated passion and determination in their applications.

Maka is studying engineering with Honours at Massey University.

Originally from Lotoha’apai Ha’ateiho in Tonga, she spent most of her primary school years in Fiji.

Maka dedicated the award to her family, friends and to her late father who inspired her love for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Maka’s award was presented as part of the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards in Wellington.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito Su’a William Sio said the 11 winners were symbols of the future for Pacific peoples.

Two other winners of the Pacific Youth Awards were of Tongan descent.

The Arts and Creativity Award, which was sponsored by Creative NZ and Massey University went to  Manuha’apai Vaeatangitau from Auckland who is of Tongan descent.

The  Business and Entrepreneurship Award, which was sponsored by Pacific Business Trust, was won by Keith Toma from Auckland who is of Niuean, Samoan, Tokelauan, Tongan and Tuvaluan descent.

The main points

  • Tongan engineering student Sela Maka, who recently won a prestigious award for Pacific students, wants to use it to give other engineering students an opportunity to work on development projects in Tonga.
  • Maka won the Pacific Cooperation Foundation International scholar Award, which was presented as part of the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards in Wellington.

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