Locals score N.Z. govt. internships

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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PROUD MOTHER AND SONS: Zach, Donna and Zabian Fonoti.

PROUD MOTHER AND SONS: Zach, Donna and Zabian Fonoti.

Scholarship students from Samoa were heavily represented on the list of 24 scholars from New Zealand University students, chosen to participate in the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) Summer Internship Initiative for 2017-2018. 

In its third year this Summer Initiative Internship programme is facilitated by PCF and supported by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Of the 24 scholars from seven different Pacific Nations, six of them were local Samoan students. 

Samoa Observer spoke with DZIGNS Hair Salon owner, Donna Fonoti, mother of Zach Fonoti who was one of the scholars awarded the internship. 

As you can imagine she was one proud mother. 

For Donna, finding out that Zach was successful in the selection process was a moment of much pride, she told the Observer.

 “I was so excited and very proud. It’s just so awesome. It’s going to look great on his C.V. when he comes back knowing what he wants to do in Foreign Affairs.’”

Zach will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Victoria University in Wellington which is conveniently based in the centre of New Zealand’s government and its administration allowing students easier access to politicians and law makers.

According to the P.C.F.  publications, the Programme Development Manager Leaupepe Taala Ralph Elika is pleased with both the number and high calibre of applicants. The students will spend 10 weeks at host agencies where they will learn professional skills and gain practical experience to utilise within the workforce in their own country.

Donna Fonoti says she is not surprised that Zach applied for the internship. “He always wanted to be a part of everything, he strives for what he wants and he’s not afraid of getting out there. Zach has been such a go-getter since day one.  I mean you usually ask your parents if you can have permission to do something but instead he would tell us what he’s going to do.  Above all though, he just puts his trust in the Lord which is really good and I’m very proud of him.”

When asked what drives Zach to be the person he is,  she said, “He has a love of people, he’s always helping and being there for them. At Peace Chapel he is in the worship team and they are always out there helping the young ones.”

Zach has taken this spirit of leadership and serving to Victoria University, Wellington and is a member of many collectives including the Samoan Students Association and the Pasifika Students’ Council at the University. 

Malo lava to our other local students who were also successful in being selected:  Sina Ah-Sam (Victoria University Wellington), Siaoauli Fatu (Victoria University Wellington) Ebony-Jean Ta’avili ( Canterbury University) Andre Westerlund (Victoria University Wellington), and Annetta Iakopo (Victoria University Wellington) 

Donna is happy for her son and is extremely proud of all of the six local students who were selected and credits their achievements in part to the support group they have formed amongst themselves to help to realise their individual ambitions.

“They are such a fantastic group, they stick together and they help each other out. They all study together and they are a great bunch of kids – future leaders of Samoa for sure.“

© Samoa Observer 2016

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