Lushomo Thebe

Lushomo Thebe

Lushomo Thebe moved to New Zealand with her parents and younger twin sisters in 2010 with only a suitcase and aspirations.


Waikato Students’ Union, President

Lushomo Thebe

Moving from Zambia, where she was supported by her entire community, Lushomo says her “expectations were exceeded” when she arrived at the University of Waikato.

“I can talk about everything I have learnt as part of my qualification, but for me, it’s the people I’ve met and the love and support I’ve received. It feels like home,” says Lushomo, 21.

Lushomo was awarded the University’s ‘Ko Te Tangata’ School Leaver Scholarship due to her excellent NCEA results in her final year at Sacred Heart Girls’ College in Hamilton, where she was head girl - the first of African descent.

She enrolled in a conjoint degree at Waikato - a Bachelor of Laws (with Honours) and a Bachelor of Business - because she wanted to be a “trailblazer” and study something no one else in her family had done before.

In 2022, Lushomo was named the YWCA Y25, a global movement working for women’s empowerment, leadership and rights. She’s participated in moot competitions, including the Norris Ward McKinnon Moot Final where she presented an argument in the Hamilton District Court. Lushomo is also President of the Waikato Students’ Union and a member of the University’s Council.

“My studies have given me the confidence and skills to take up some of the great career opportunities ahead of me.”

Waikato University has helped connect her to the law industry. Last summer she did an internship at Bell Gully in Auckland, and this summer Lushomo will head back to the city to work at Chapman Tripp.

“I really like being at Waikato. If I were a 17-year-old at high school again, I’d still pick this University. I’ve made lifelong friendships, but I’ve also received personal and professional development.”

Lushomo’s favourite lecturers have included Professor Alexander Gillespie, Professor Claire Breen, Associate Professor Linda Te Aho and Professor David Mckie.

“David had unmatched charisma, and I never missed a single lecture. I still remember taking his Leadership Communication paper back in first year. It’s not often a single paper at university can have such a profound influence on you, but that paper set a strong foundation for my future leadership endeavors.”

At Sacred Heart, Lushomo’s sister is following in similar footsteps as head girl and is due to start at Waikato in 2023 after receiving $28,000 as part of the Te Paewai o te Rangi: The University of Waikato Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

The financial and holistic support that Lushomo and her family have received from Waikato University has made a big difference to them, and their future.

“My experience at Waikato University is the accumulation of a 12-year dream for my family. We moved here to have every opportunity to achieve whatever we wanted, without limitations. And Waikato has given me that.”

Lushomo Thebe

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