International students celebrated
Twelve international students have been honoured for excelling in their New Zealand studies at the Wellington International Student Excellence Awards.
In its second year the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda) event celebrated the academic, sporting, artistic and community achievements of six category winners.
Wainuiomata High School student, Yuki Sugito, of Japan, won two awards in the arts and culture and sport categories for his dedication to the school’s kapa haka group, which has won two national competitions for its performances.
Sugito said his interest in the group stemmed from his love of the All Blacks and their haka.
He said he wanted to immerse himself in New Zealand culture, so he couldn’t pass up the opportunity when the school’s Japanese teacher asked if he was interested.
‘‘The first time I tried, it was difficult. I sometimes couldn’t remember the Ma¯ori words and it was hard for me. When I learnt the actions and words I really felt the Ma¯ori culture. I did not think about me being Japanese. I felt Ma¯ori.’’
Sugito put in about 800 hours of practice over five months to perfect the Haka, Waiata and Moteatea in fluent Te Reo Ma¯ori and he has since been chosen to compete in the 2018 national competition.
He said he was ‘‘surprised’’ to have won the two Wreda awards.
‘‘I feel very proud to be rep- resenting Wainuiomata High School in kapa haka. I feel good about myself.’’
Whitireia IT Diploma student VineetKaur, of India, and Wellington High School student Yucen (Ethan) Wu, of China won the academic excellence award.
Victoria University economics and management graduate Siang Lim, of Malaysia, and WelTec creative technology diploma graduate Yorke Yu won the alumni award.
Victoria University accounting and commercial lawstudent Anis Emalin Madihah MohdNadzri, of Malaysia, and Massey University creative media production student Khang Phan, of Vietnam won the community engagement award.
Victoria University bachelor of commerce student and Korean Students Association of Wellington presidentDahee Sohn, of Korea, and Victoria University student and NewZealand International Students Associationco-founder Ravethi (Rae) Jeyakumar, of Singapore won the award for leadership.
Victoria University film and human geography student Maja Zonjic, of Croatia and Canada, and Wainuiomata High School student Yuki Sugito, of Japan, won the arts and culture award. Sugito also won a second award in the sports category.
Scots College student SamWalsh, of the USA, and Queen Margaret College student Amber Jiang, of China also won an award for sport.
Wainuiomata High School international student Yuki Sugito, front left, of Japan has been recognised for his dedication to the school’s kapa haka group.