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“No two days are ever the same,” says Fiana Tuli.

The third year teacher lights up when talking about her job at Holy Cross Catholic School in Papatoetoe, Auckland.

“I honestly wake up every day and think, ‘What is going to happen today?’ And I love that!” says Fiana, who is of Tongan descent.

Fiana’s journey into teaching was inspired by a desire to make a difference in the lives of young people, and especially Pasifika children.

A TeachNZ scholarship that Fiana was awarded made the journey easier, helping to relieve financial pressure while studying, and keeping her motivated. The scholarship enabled Fiana to obtain a graduate diploma in primary teaching.

“I hadn’t really considered going for a scholarship before. But then I was encouraged to apply, and I thought ‘Why not?’”

Three years into her career, it’s a decision Fiana hasn’t regretted. She was awarded a TeachNZ Kupe Scholarship and has continued to learn and grow as a teacher ever since.

“I’m excited that there are years in front of me to learn and improve and embrace kids’ differences,” she says.

“I’m learning alongside the kids every day. I love that they see me make mistakes as well.”

Fiana thinks it is so beneficial for Pasifika kids to have Pasifika role models, including in the classroom.

“I hope my students will remember the teacher who helped them connect with their own culture, as well as those of other people.

“I hope they’ll remember me as the teacher who loved. And that their mamahi’i me’a for learning will stay with them.”

Applications close for TeachNZ Scholarships on 14 June 2019 (except Kupe Scholarships which open again soon). More information about the TeachNZ Scholarships can be found here.


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