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“The scholarship helped me to enhance my overall skills.”

  • Manaaki Scholarship - Sapati Fili - hero image

21 February 2023

Sapati Fili, a 45-year-old father of five from Samoa, completed a Bachelor of Applied Technology, majoring in Auto Engineering and Transportation Management in 2021 with the aid of a Manaaki Scholarship.  He says he couldn’t believe it when he heard he’d been awarded a scholarship.

“I was over the moon. It was a dream come true,” he says. “I’m the main provider in my family and I knew that getting qualifications would help me succeed.”

Sapati says he struggled in his first year, failing a paper and really doubting himself.  But he says he picked himself up and went on to achieve his degree with straight A’s.  He presented a research paper on the roll-out and implementation of electric vehicles in Samoa at the Unitec/MIT Research Symposium in December 2021 and was recognised with an Excellence Award for Undergraduate Student Research. 

Sapati has now returned to Samoa where he runs his own auto shop in the village of Lotopa, near Apia in Samoa. 

He says he never would have been able to do it without the Manaaki scholarship. 

“It gave me my one-chance opportunity to achieve what I needed to learn, and ultimately to succeed.

“I’d like to thank the scholarship administrators and New Zealand Government for giving me this opportunity.

“Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

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