The tough road to success

By Anina Kazaz and Nefertiti Matatia ,

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WELL DESERVED: Helen Nicholson, Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Otago together with Reverend Dr. Selota Maliko.

WELL DESERVED: Helen Nicholson, Deputy Vice Chancellor of University of Otago together with Reverend Dr. Selota Maliko.

The road to success is not easy. 

Ask Reverend Dr. Selota Maliko and he will tell you this.

His journey to becoming a Lecturer at the Piula Theological College was not an easy one. 

In 2011, he was chosen by the Methodist Church in Samoa to undertake a five-year PhD study in Philosophy at the University of Otago. 

He was joined by his wife, Mercy Maliko. They had three children who they had to look after at the time. Their faith was also tested when Mrs. Maliko had to also undergo a surgery because of a brain tumor.  

Rev. Selota shared with the Samoa Observer that God helped them overcome all their struggles. 

“I think I made it because of the love of my family, church and those people who were praying from home while we were studying,” he said. 

“All I wanted was to do well because then you know you will come back home to help your family and it is not good to come back with empty hand,” he said. 

“It was a tough journey considering that we had to take care of our three children, which was very difficult. I think it was a challenge because it was a process of learning how to manage our time. I spend sometimes with the kids and sometimes on my studies.”

“I will never forget the struggles that I have been through. There were many ups and downs academically and financially.”

At the end it was worth all the struggles they had to endure and fight to overcome. 

“We are back at Piula Theological College and we are both teaching now. This is the first time for Mercy to be accounted as a lecturer.” 

“Never in the history of Puila was there a female lecturer and Mercy is the most qualified to be there.”

“I am very happy she is doing this,” Rev. Selota. 

After graduating in 2017, he says this will be enough studying for him.

“My PhD is about restored justice response to the Samoan villages. I was looking at providing and taking care of the reputation of those who have been banished.”

“The scholarship was only for three years, but I did my PhD in four years and three months. I asked the church to pay for the first semester of the fourth year. So there have been times after my three years scholarship that I had no money, so we were looking for jobs to support the kids and the family.”

“Both of us have been sponsored by the Investment of Otago. Mine was Pacific Island Scholarship, so the sponsors were for free.”

“The University of Otago is really a unique university. I think the crime bridge is very low compared to Auckland and Wellington.”

“There have been others who came before us to the University of Otago. I am not the first Pastor to be there. Reverend Tualani was there before us.”

During his studies, he was always challenged to do better.

“At the university there were others much older than me. There was a 72-year-old man who did his PhD but also other younger ones.”

“I am very happy to be back, back to the warm weather.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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