Tala Sooupu

What are you studying?

I am studying towards a conjoint degree - a Bachelor of Law (Hons) and Bachelor of Social Sciences majoring in Political Science with a minor in Women and Gender Studies.

Where are you from?

I am originally from Samoa but have called Te Awamutu home since 2005.

Why did you choose the University of Waikato?

I chose the University of Waikato because my parents wanted me to be closer to home as I was quite young when I started University, and I have not regretted it since.

What do you like about studying at the University of Waikato?

I love the laidback and community focused vibe that it gives students, with an outward focus on how we impact the environment and community around us. I love that this University in recent years has made great progress on acknowledging and creating space for discussion and initiatives for equitable outcomes for indigenous and minority peoples, which, as a student coming from a minority group, is something very close to my heart.

What are your hopes for the future?

I have many hopes for the future, including being in a position to be able to influence decision making for the nation for better and more equitable outcomes for people across different ethnicities and groups, to be a leader that disciples other leaders and raises up people with love, truth and grace, and that when I am in a position of influence and affluence to remember to give back to anyone in need.

What inspires you?

I find inspiration in many things, such as my parents who sacrificed a lot for us to be able to be educated here in New Zealand. I also find inspiration in seeing young Pacific people and people of faith rise up and take ownership of their unique abilities and hone those skills to show the society around them that the solutions they seek are sometimes found in the most unlikely of places.

What would you like to do when you graduate?

At the moment I do not have extravagant plans as I want to take some time to work on a few things I have put on hold for study. I would like to continue the work I am doing at the Student Union which I feel adds a lot of value, and want to see more done for our students across the border. After that I would like to go into work as a policy officer for the New Zealand Government in a position that allows me to travel.