Lead­er­ship skills a win­ner

Central Leader - - NEWS - By SHEL­LEY GRECO

Ka­rina Kau­fusi is a leader among young Pa­cific Is­lan­ders – and she has an award from the Prime Min­is­ter to prove it.

Ka­rina won the Lead­er­ship Award at this year’s Prime Min­is­ter’s Pa­cific Youth Awards.

Spon­sored by the Univer­sity of Auck­land, the award recog­nises a young per­son with strong lead­er­ship qual­i­ties and who demon­strates an abil­ity to mo­ti­vate oth­ers.

‘‘To win this award, I’m really hum­bled by it,’’ the 21-year-old says.

‘‘I’m really thank­ful for be­ing given this op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘Just be­ing able to be a good role model for oth­ers and mo­ti­vate oth­ers is some­thing I’ve al­ways prided my­self on.’’

Ms Kau­fusi is study­ing civil en­gi­neer­ing and com­merce and is in her third year at Auck­land Univer­sity.

She will re­ceive $6000 per year to­wards tuition fees.

The prize will cover the cost of the re­main­ing two years of her con­joint bach­e­lor de­gree.

She was in­spired to ap­ply for the lead­er­ship award af­ter at­tend­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion by Min­istry of Pa­cific Is­land Af­fairs rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

‘‘I didn’t ex­pect to win it. I knew this year’s stan­dards were really high.

‘‘When they told me I had won, I was really shocked and didn’t know what to say.’’

The New Zealand-born Ton­gan has been demon­strat­ing lead­er­ship abil­i­ties since she was a stu­dent at Ep­som Girls Gram­mar School.

She and two other stu­dents started the Pa­cific Com­mit­tee of which she was chair­woman. It was es­tab­lished to sup­port new high school stu­dents via an af­ter-school tu­tor­ing pro­gramme.

In ad­di­tion to her own study com­mit­ments, Ms Kau­fusi is in­volved in the univer­sity’s Tuakana pro­gramme as an as­sis­tant tu­tor and men­tor.

This in­volves help­ing new Maori and Pa­cific univer­sity stu­dents reach their po­ten­tial through a com­bi­na­tion of aca­demic and pas­toral men­tor­ing, tu­tor­ing and wananga.

Her short-term goal is to grad­u­ate with first class hon­ours but in the long term Ms Kau­fusi plans to re­turn to the Pa­cific to put her de­gree to good use.

‘‘It will give me the skills and knowl­edge to help the Pa­cific com­mu­nity.

‘‘I want to be in­volved in small projects like build­ing a water pipe sys­tem to bring fresh water to schools or build­ing new schools, en­sur­ing they are struc­turally sta­ble,’’ Ms Kau­fusi says.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Pa­cific Youth Awards were pre­sented by Prime Min­is­ter John Key at a cer­e­mony held at the Bee­hive Ban­quet Hall in Welling­ton.

Young leader: Ka­rina Kau­fusi has been recog­nised in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Pa­cific Youth Awards.

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