“I want to help make a difference for others, in the same way the scholarship helped me.”
With the aid of a Manaaki scholarship, Tongan-born Tevita Angitau was able to complete a Bachelor of Construction with a double major in Construction Economics and Construction Management in 2022. Receiving the scholarship, he says, was “a blessing”.
“We experienced hardship and struggle growing up in Tonga, but I learned valuable life lessons from these experiences,” he says.
“Without the hard work and sacrifices of my family, especially my parents, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
“I’m not the most intelligent person in my family, but to be awarded this kind of opportunity was huge for all of us.
“Although my parents were willing to send me overseas to study, we couldn't afford it. So, I had to step out of my comfort zone and think outside the box.
Tevita says there were times when he wanted to quit and go back home, but the prospect of being able to support his family was what drove him forward.
Thirty-one-year-old Tevita is now employed as a Senior Quantity Surveyor at a NZ-headquartered firm in Tongatapu, and a large part of his work is supporting circular economy, environmental, sustainable and other social outcomes for the Pacific region.
“I feel that I have a lot to give back after all the support I’ve received over the past few years,” he says. “I want to help make a difference for others, in the same way the scholarship helped me.