Passion for helping people
Waitaki Girls’ High School pupil Naomi Saulala plans to give back to Oamaru’s Pacific community when she completes her university studies.
The 17yearold, who is head girl at the school, was recently awarded a $10,000 University of Otago Pasifika Scholarship, for academic and cultural contribution.
Naomi plans to major in law and psychology in Dunedin starting next year, with a minor in Pacific
She said exactly what to study was an easy decision for her.
‘‘I have a passion for helping people and I think the best way for me to do that will be through law. With my Pacific Island studies, I want to give back to my community.’’
Naomi believes the Pacific community needs more academic role models rather than those who play sport or are involved in music.
When applying for her scholarship, Naomi was required to write a 500-word essay on how she has
contributed to the local Pacific community and what it would mean to her personally to receive the
scholarship. She also had to provide two references. She hopes to return to Oamaru when she has
completed her studies. She hoped eventually to get a job with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.
The ministry is the Government’s main adviser on policies and interventions to promote the social,
economic and cultural development of Pacific people in New Zealand.
‘‘I might start here in Oamaru and slowly work my way up,’’ Naomi said.
OTAGO UNIVERSITY SCHOLARSHIPS
Several Waitaki Girls’ High School pupils have been recognised with scholarships from the University of Otago this year. Head girl Naomi Saulala has a $10,000 Pasifika scholarship, Jennifer O’Connell has been awarded
a three-year, $16,000 drama scholarship, while Lucy Paton, Georgia Proctor and Sara-Jayne Lind have been awarded Leaders of Tomorrow scholarships and Brooke Spavin an alumni scholarship. Principal Tracy Walker said she was proud of the girls. ‘‘It’s a testament to their hard work and their teachers’ hard work. We’ve had an academic focus this year and we have some very talented girls.’’