A young Samoan lady at Victoria University in Wellington New Zealand has made her family and country extremely proud.
Sina Ah Sam, the daughter of Tuaimalo Tapuai Asamu and Logotaeao Ah Sam, has overcome tremendous odds in her life to win the prestigious New Zealand Pacific Scholarship (N.Z.PS) Top Achiever Award at the Victoria Business School Excellence Awards.
This follows her success where she was also the recipient of the Adrian Wimmers Pasifika Prize, which recognises the top performing Pasifika first-year student studying any major within the Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the Victoria Business School.
A second year Commerce student, she received the Award last week was a special ceremony held by the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade together with the NZ Aid Programme Coordinators at the Victoria University of Wellington in front of the Samoa’s High Commissioner in Wellington, Leasi Papali’i Tommy Scanlan and members of the New Zealand and Pacific community.
Ms. Ah-Sam, who hails from the villages of Vailele, Fagali’i, Magiagi, is humbled by the honour.
In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Ms. Ah Sam said she never imagined her life would go the way it has and she is extremely grateful.
“Because you can never foretell the future and what could happen,” she said.
“However, I did hope and pray that good things will happen and I will succeed in whatever I was planning to do. I had faith in my Heavenly Father and trusted Him and the plan that He had for me.
“My journey from when I was young to where I am now has been such a rollercoaster ride. Growing up with my siblings, being the only girl and the youngest was hard already.
“My parents obviously treated me differently because I was the only girl and the youngest, which also meant they had high expectations of me.
“So that played out quite well, they did everything they could for me and my siblings. In return, we worked so hard in school, extra-curricular activities and also in Sunday school.
She made the decision of taking Commerce in Form 5 because she was passionate about the course.
The young lady became a mother when she was in College in Samoa. Most students would have given up. She didn’t. She returned to school and the rest as they say is history.
“Like I said, it has been a roller coaster ride for me,” she said. “I went through many challenges, ups and downs throughout my life but it is all about picking yourself up when you fall and taking yourself to somewhere higher than where you were before, but always remaining humble.
“Having Michaela at a young age was so hard but it turned my life around, she gave me even more motivation to do great things in life and made me set new priorities which has brought me here today.”
However, Ms. Ah Sam said she owes her success to God, her family, her congregation, friends and education providers.
“God has been so good to me, He has been my source of strength, courage and determination and so much more throughout my life.
“I also owe it to my family, my dear parents in particular who have raised me up to be the person I am today. They have sacrificed so much for my siblings and I, and that is why we will do all that it takes to repay their love and make them happy.
My grandparents Peseta Peresetene & Sina Peteru (mums parents) and Tapua’i Ene & Faleupolu Ah Sam (Dads) and family. They have been there for me since I was young, helping my parents raise us by scolding us but also giving great advice.
My whole family has been so supportive of me and have been praying that for my success.”
“My church family especially our pastors, Reverend Ioaopo (deceased) & Tali’ilagi Ioapo and Reverend Siaosi & Souopuava Salesulu who have been praying endlessly for me and all children of our congregation to do well in school and have successful futures.”
“My friends who have been there for me throughout my ups and downs, you have shown what true friendship means and my success is now yours too.”
“Lastly, my education providers from when I was young up till now, I owe my success to them also.”
Sina wanted to thank everyone who supported and believed in her.
She hopes that her story would inspire someone out there.
“I have been through many phases in life,” she said.
“But I have learnt from my mistakes and experiences and become someone I never thought I could be. I know that mistakes do not define us but give us lifelong lessons that guide us to better places in life.
I want others to know that and it is important that you keep that in your hearts. What people think of you is not significant but what you believe and know in your heart is more important as long as it is right with what God wants too.”
She attended Robert Louis Stevenson Primary School, Robert Louis Stevenson Secondary School, National University of Samoa (foundation) and is now attending Victoria University of Wellington.
Ms. Ah Sam is majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law with a minor in Taxation.