Pacific student mastering engineering at Waikato University

21 June 2012

William Rohorua

Becoming a master: William Rohorua is completing a Master of Engineering degree at the University of Waikato.

Waikato engineering student William Rohorua says he’s figured out the secret to successful study, and it’s not what you may expect. The key is to know when to take a break.

“I find that when I’m active and healthy physically, I’m prepared mentally when it comes to writing and research. Some of the best solutions I’ve come up with for engineering problems have been when I’m not focusing on the problem at all.”

Pacific connections

William is Tongan/Solomon Islander and spent time living in the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga, before moving to New Zealand with his family at intermediate school level. At secondary school level he attended Hamilton’s Fraser High School. 

“Currently I have strong connections with both the Tongan and Solomon Island communities here in Hamilton, through family social events,” says William.

Practical aspect a highlight

He chose Waikato University because he wanted remain close to home, while having the opportunity to put into practise the maths and physics he had enjoyed in high school.

For William, the practical nature of the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) was the highlight of his undergraduate study and helped him to understand the theory taught in the lecture environment. As part of his final year project he worked with NZAgbiz (a subsidiary of Fonterra) towards solving a problem the company had at one of their Waikato factories.

Masters study

William graduated from his Bachelor of Engineering (BE) with first-class honours in 2011 and received a scholarship to return and complete a Master of Engineering.

“My scholarship is part of a Marsden Funded project known as the Pacific Island-New Zealand Migrant Survey. I'm currently working on a building-integrated thermal solar domestic hot water system, with the aim of reducing costs and also trying to implement basic control strategies. The hope of this research is that cost effective systems such as the one I'm researching can be implemented throughout homes in New Zealand.”


He was also awarded much appreciated financial support during his undergraduate degree from a Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako (TAPA) Award. The TAPA Awards were established by the University of Waikato to encourage Pacific Island students to pursue tertiary studies.

“I want to complete my masters and then hopefully spend a few years in industry. This will help me to decide whether I want to return to undertake doctoral studies or continue working in industry and furthering my opportunities.”

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