Pacific alumni and students celebrate Distinguished Alumnus

26 September 2014

Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane 

Honoured: 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane addresses the audience at the Pacific Alumni and Friends event.

University of Waikato Pacific alumni, students and friends travelled far and wide to attend an event on campus to celebrate and honour one of their own – 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Le Mamea Taulapapa Sefulu Ioane QSO.

Contributing to education in Samoa and New Zealand

Le Mamea, one of the University of Waikato’s first Pacific graduates, received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato on 19 September in recognition of his immense contributions to education in Samoa and New Zealand.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford said the University is proud to recognise someone of Le Mamea’s stature with a Distinguished Alumni Award. “Le Mamea is highly-regarded in both New Zealand and Pacific communities, not just for his immense contributions to the field of education, but also for his humility.”

Le Mamea has a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities and a Master of Arts with First Class Honours in English Literature from the University of Waikato. As the inaugural director of the Pacific Island Education Resource Centre in 1976, Le Mamea was instrumental in setting up programmes to provide advocacy and support to recent migrants to New Zealand.

Addressing alumni and students

Addressing alumni and students at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts, Le Mamea spoke of his fondness for the University of Waikato.

“Waikato is a very special to my heart. I will always treasure my time there, and I have a love of the English and Māori languages because of Waikato,” he said.

He also spoke on the importance of attitude. “You must have a positive mental attitude in life,” he said. “If you want to succeed, you have to work hard and believe in yourself. Most importantly, look up and have a positive attitude.”

University of Waikato Senior Policy Adviser - Pacific, Elena Fa’amoe-Timoteo, said his messages resonated with all who attended.

“This event was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with alumni and to hear from a very humble and distinguished alumnus. As a community, we have the utmost respect for Le Mamea and I know we will keep his messages close.”

The event also featured performances by the Waikato Cook Island Students Association. To view photos from the event, click here.

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