Sau Lauyoung

Māori and Pacific Development

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Social Sciences
  • Māori and Pacific Development
  • Sociology
  • Michael Caiger Memorial Scholarship

Sau Lauyoung never considered university after leaving school when she was 16 years old. But after years of questioning why some people struggle more than others, Sau decided to seek answers through study of Māori and Pacific Development and Sociology at the University of Waikato.

She is the first in her family to attend university, and exceeded her own expectations as a graduate of a Bachelor of Social Sciences. While she studied, she won the Tertiary Achievement in Pacific Ako (TAPA) Award four years in a row, recognising her commitment to her culture and community. She also won the 2017 Vice Chancellor’s Adult Learner Award, awarded the Michael Caiger Memorial Scholarship and also the Summer Research Scholarship in 2018.

“I’m humbled and grateful for the scholarships I received,” Sau says. “Financial barriers are a reality, so it makes a big difference.”

Sau balanced her studies with full-time work, while raising her three children. She had very little spare time, but constantly reminded herself that her hard work will benefit her, and others, in the long run.

“It wasn't a solo effort,” she says. “My family, particularly my partner and two children, inspired and helped me along the way.”

Sau says the best part of her university experience was applying study to her job. "I received a lot of support during my time at the University of Waikato from staff, lecturers and support staff, to help me get through to the end of my journey, this is my opportunity to reciprocate that back to my people on their journey, who are very much needed in the Social services and Health sector."

Sau graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Social Science, double majoring in Sociology and Pacific and Indigenous Studies. Once she graduated, she worked as the Whanau Resilience Co-ordinator for K’aute Pasifika, co-designing a Family Violence programme catered to the needs of the Pacific community in Hamilton. She now works at Waikato Institute of Technology as Te Kete Kōnae Kaiawhina where she supports students. She is also a member of the WINTEC Pacific Reference Group and of the Tapasa Development group.

Job highlights

  • Working with Social work and Counselling degree students, Maori and Pasifika pathway students into Health degrees
  • Supporting students with their holistic needs, to help eliminate or alleviate barriers that can impact on students studying
  • Working to support and build equity for Maori and Pacific students in the Wintec tertiary space.

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