Tonga a real leader

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Tonga Paongo is a young man that leads by do­ing.

The Mana Col­lege head boy is one of 30 stu­dents from across the coun­try to be part of the Next Gen­er­a­tion Lead­ers pro­gramme.

It is de­signed to help sec­ondary school lead­ers flour­ish through ac­tiv­i­ties and chal­lenges, giv­ing them prac­ti­cal skills through links with spon­sor Fuji Xerox’ busi­ness part­ners.

When asked to put his name for­ward last year, and pro­vide a 500-word es­say in sup­port of his ap­pli­ca­tion, Tonga was ner­vous.

‘‘I wasn’t sure what it was all about but I’m glad I did [ap­ply]. I said in my es­say that I wanted to ex­pe­ri­ence new things, get out of my com­fort zone a bit and be­come con­fi­dent as a leader.

‘‘ I’m not big on pub­lic speak­ing, so I thought this could help with that. I was shocked and hon­oured that peo­ple think I have the po­ten­tial.’’

Tonga is the only Porirua rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the pro­gramme, and one of just eight stu­dents from this re­gion.

They have had an in­duc­tion day in Auck­land, where he meet Billy Gra­ham and Lisa Ta­mati, and the sec­ond phase will in­volve spend­ing a day in a busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

‘‘ It’s a real chance for me, meet­ing th­ese new peo­ple and see­ing what’s hap­pen­ing in the real world.’’

Along with his head boy du­ties, Tonga is cap­tain of the best col­lege vol­ley­ball team in this re­gion, plays rugby, bas­ket­ball, founded a Ton­gan cul­tural group at the school and is a role model at his church.

He gave a speech in Maori to the en­tire school at the be­gin­ning of this year, de­liv­ered with aplomb, deputy prin­ci­pal Mar­ion Tuite says. ‘‘It was an in­cred­i­ble ef­fort. ‘‘We put Tonga for­ward for the lead­ers pro­gramme but his es­say made the dif­fer­ence. He’s a leader for Mana in so many ar­eas – he’s hum­ble and qui­etlyspo­ken and his ac­tions speak louder than words,’’ said Ms Tuite.

‘‘This pro­gramme will ex­pand his hori­zons be­yond Porirua and al­low him to have amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.’’

Tonga in­tends to study ar­chi­tec­ture at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity next year.

Young leader: Tonga Paongo is a role model in his school and the com­mu­nity, and he says be­ing cho­sen for a fu­ture lead­ers’ course can only help with his con­fi­dence.

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