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Meet Leaniva

Talofa Lava. My name is Leaniva Sa’u but I am known by most as Niva. I am a New Zealand born Samoan, raised by a New Zealand born Samoan mother and a Samoan born father. I was raised in a small town just out of Palmerston North called Ashhurst along with three of my four siblings.

I completed high school at the end of 2016 and throughout 2016 I was lucky and blessed enough to be apart of ASA study groups with other students. The ASA study groups was an opportunity for us Pasifika students to be able to have discussions about STEM subjects but it also ranges beyond STEM subjects. The ASA study groups honestly did help, it wasn’t just about the social interaction it was also about being able to have a discussion with those who some what understand your way of thinking and not feeling lost all the time because everyone was always there to help.

In 2017 I was awarded with a Central Trust Energy Bursary that would grant me with money for three years of my study. I am currently in my second year of studying Social Work at Massey University in Palmerston North. At first the transition from high school to university was a smooth ride, but as I went into the second semester it became a lot harder to really stay focused. But this all came as a lesson to myself to keep on track and to keep me reminded of my end goal.

At the moment as I study I have more than one future aspiration. Although one common factor is that I am passionate about working with Pasifika people. I want to be able to work with troubled Pasifika youth to show them that we as Pacific Islanders hold so much potential and in achieving that, we can do so much. Although I also want to focus on mental health in Pasifika communities. It’s something that has been swept under the rug for so long, so to be able to help those that are struggling with mental illness, specifically Pacific Islanders, is something that I have always strongly been passionate about. But at the end of the day, it’s all about giving back to my parents and grandparents.

I encourage you to pick a field of study that you are truly are passionate about, whether it’s a STEM subject or not. Choose something you love and that you’re truly passionate about and you’ll one day finish in triumph.

Faafetai Lava.