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July 17, 2017 | by  | in News |
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Warm Pacific Greetings

Over the mid-year break, three VUW Pasifika Students’ Associations participated in their respective annual national tertiary student conferences: Taokota’ianga, So’otaga, and Amatakiloa.

The annual conferences allows students across the country to celebrate cultural identity and discuss issues affecting their communities.

The Cook Islands Students’ Association (VUWCIA) hosted this year’s Taokota’ianga from July 6–9. There were over 60 students in total from University of Auckland (UoA), Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Waikato University, Whitireia, and VUW.

The central theme, Te au tu kai akamatutu i te kopapa e te manako — food that strengthens the body and mind, was inspired by the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand’s Five Ways To Well-Being.

Co-President of VUWCIA Bethany Mataiti said of hosting the event, “my biggest lesson learned was to just roll with the stress and kind of immerse myself in the process.”

The VUW Samoan Students’ Association hosted this year’s So’otaga from July 4–8, with over 200 students in total from UoA, AUT, Waikato, University of Canterbury, and VUW.

The central theme for So’otaga, Tautuanā ne’i vale tu’ulima le tofi — be wary of the privilege passed down by hand, lest it be in vain, was carried through the lāuga, debates, and cultural performances.

The Tongan Students’ Association (Victorious Stallions) travelled to Hamilton for their conference, Amatakiloa, hosted by Waikato University from July 6–10. There were around 200 students from UoA, AUT, Waikato, Otago University, Manukau Institute of Technology, Auckland Institution of Studies, and VUW.

The theme, Filihia moe ‘elili, is a Tongan proverb. Stallions Vice-President Mateaki Ahio explains that it derives “from a story of the fishing trail for a particular sea snail called ‘elili, found on rocky shores in the higher intertidal zone, an environment of harsh extremes and tidal excursion.”

The theme “encapsulates our journey in our academia world” and “is a great reminder to our Tongan students that… our sacrifices are worth it in the end.”

So’otaga and Amatakiloa also double as competitions in the four categories of sports, academic, cultural performances, and Christian-based performances. This year, both groups from VUW won their respective overall prize.

The Stallions dedicate their win to a beloved member who recently passed away. “To our dearest Palei Tuiano, who will forever be remembered as the joyful and goofy member who never failed to keep the group smiling.”

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