Building a new knowledge base in the Pacific

14 May 2019

Masters’ graduate Riby Tupiti taking a lot of learning from both inside and outside the classroom back home to the Solomon Islands.

She has just graduated with a Masters in Management Studies majoring in Human Resources. Riby describes her upbringing in the Solomon Islands as ‘very average’.  Her father was a government printer, her mother a housewife, and she has two brothers and three sisters. “I was brought up by my dad saying, if you want to have things better than we did, then education was the key to improving your life.”

Riby has been studying at Waikato since 2009, and during that time she has become a very respected elder in the Hamilton Solomon Island Community. She came to Hamilton with three children and had her fourth while studying. Everyone asks her how she juggled her Masters and four kids, and she claims it is not even about being meticulously organized.  Riby says she just knuckled down and did the work. “I am an NZ Scholar student, so it gave me added incentive to achieve, because either you pass or you go home.”

With  a Masters in Management Studies majoring in Human Resources, Riby has secured a job as the HR Director at the Solomon Islands National University. At the moment she is focused on gaining more experienced in what is the most senior role she has had.  The National University is relatively new, it became a university in 2013. It is one of the biggest education providers for the country, so Riby says it is about building the place up, to educate her people. “Only the top students in the country will get a scholarship to go to New Zealand or Australia, the rest will stay in the Solomons. We didn’t have a university, but now having our own we can better educate our people. So my role in Hr is making sure we have the right people, the right talent, to teach quality education. It’s about contributing to that.”

Riby has a bit of advice for other NZ Scholars. She says the Solomon Islands National University doesn’t yet have the kind of student services and support offered at Waikato, like the library resources and the student learning centre, so people need to take advantage of them. But they also need to make the most out of life outside the classroom. “Getting out there, meeting people and learning about other cultures. It is about seeing the country, and listening to the Prime Minister talking about issues. There are a whole lot of things you can learn and take back to the Solomons from places like New zealand. It broadens your knowledge and your world view.”

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