University of Waikato honours Pacific students at annual awards

Read about the Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako (TAPA) award ceremony.

07 Jul 2023

Performances by the Waikato Samoan Students Association filled the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts as 32 high-achieving students received a Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako (TAPA) award at a special ceremony on Thursday.

The 2023 winners of the Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako (TAPA) award.

Established in 2009 by the University of Waikato, the award acknowledges the academic achievements and contributions of Pacific students, as well as their commitment to the community.

The TAPA recipients were chosen through an application process that required them to submit a personal statement detailing their academic journey, their vision for utilising their qualifications, and their contributions to the Pacific community.

Williame Daveta received the award for the second consecutive year.

“This recognition is confirmation that I am on the right path,” Williame says. “Celebrating with my fellow students and family was amazing, and I am grateful to be here.”

Williame receives his award(L-R): Dr Keakaokawai (Keaka) Varner Hemi, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Pacific, Williame Daveta and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Robyn Longhurst.


Currently studying toward a Master of Health, Sport and Human Performance, Williame is also enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in Psychology.

In 2017, he completed his Certificate of University Preparation, followed by a double degree in Bachelor of Social Sciences with a major in Psychology and a Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance in 2022.

Williame’s journey has not been without challenges.

Growing up, he often doubted his academic abilities, but his university experience and dedication to achieving good grades have transformed his perspective.

"I persevered through the hard work, picked my head up during moments of low mental health, and punched through those challenges,” he says.

Cultural PerformancesCultural performances by the Waikato Samoan Students Association.


Williame volunteers on and off campus, taking full advantage of the services and support available to him. He’s engaged with Student Learning, seeks support from Pacific at Waikato, and finds empowerment through his involvement with the Waikato University Fijian Students Association.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Williame is co-leader for the Waikato Waiariki Unite Youth and part of the leadership group for the Hamilton Fijian Methodist Church Youth and the Hamilton East St John’s Methodist Youth.

Pacific Engagement Manager at the University, Sianiti Nakabea Bulisala, says these students often juggle multiple responsibilities and this award provides financial support to meet various expenses.

“The awards were established to acknowledge that many of our Pacific students wear many hats of responsibility. This award is designed to celebrate our students who give so much to the community and also succeed academically.”

The next round of the awards is July 2024, open to full-time Pacific students currently enrolled at the University.



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