NATION

New Zealand Aid Programme Envoy Hosts Regional Students

  Regional students sponsored by the New Zealand Aid Programme were hosted to an annual reception at the New Zealand’s High Commission in Nasese, Suva, on Thursday night. NZ High
04 Jun 2016 10:11
New Zealand Aid Programme Envoy Hosts Regional Students
New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Fiji Mark Ramsden, speaking to New Zealand-sponsored students at the cocktail held at the New Zealand High Commissioner’s official residence in Suva on Thursday Night. Photo: Roneel Karthik

 

Regional students sponsored by the New Zealand Aid Programme were hosted to an annual reception at the New Zealand’s High Commission in Nasese, Suva, on Thursday night.

NZ High Commissioner to Fiji Mark Ramsden said the reception was a way for the commission and NZ government to recognise their relationships both across the region and at the centre here in Fiji.

“Tonight’s (Thursday’s) event recognises two parts of our scholarships programme and Pacific scholars who come here to Fiji to study,” Mr Ramsden said.

“New Zealand sponsors nearly 180 students from around the Pacific to study at regional institutions like USP (University of the South Pacific) and FNU (Fiji National University),” Mr Ramsden.

“We are also recognising the scholars and Fijians who have gone down to New Zealand to study at post-graduate level.”

Mr Ramsden said having students to come and study here showed off Fiji as a regional hub.

“Fiji is really an important regional hub. The main campus of the premier regional University of the South Pacific is here,” he said.

“New Zealand has already had a long established relationship with USP as we were a foundation member of the university back in 1968. And so that relationship remains really strong to us and really important.”

“And we have Fiji National University and New Zealand has had a really long standing relationship with FNU particularly through the Fiji School of Medicine.”

USP vice-chancellor and president Professor Rajesh Chandra said the NZ scholarship programmes strengthened their relationship with USP but also contributed to regionalism.

“By bringing students to institutions like USP, these students are mixing with all the other students from other countries,” Professor Chandra said.

“They become much more aware of different cultures and they develop linkages and networks because many of them will become leaders.”

Vanuatu student Gwendoline Kalsev, who is a final year student at USP, was thankful to the NZ government for the opportunity.

“This scholarship has helped me financially and has allowed me to come to Fiji with my family. I enjoy studying here in Fiji and it feels like home away from home,” she said. Solomon Islands student Jesse Dorauvo, 34, who is completing his Diploma in Electrical Engineering at FNU also shared similar sentiments.

“I have benefitted a lot from this scholarship like financially and other areas,” Mr Dorauvo said.

Despite having health problems, Mr Dorauvo said he was determined to complete his studies with the help and support from NZ Aid.

The New Zealand Aid Programme offers several different types of scholarship, two of which benefit Pacific island students such as the New Zealand Pacific Scholarships and the New Zealand Regional Development Scholarships.

The regional students are from the eight regional countries; Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The reception was also attended by members of the diplomatic corps, Fiji Airways officials, NZ High Commission officials, supporters and contributors of the programme and alumni.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  filipe.naigulevu@fijisun.com.fj

 

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