The following recipients are recognised for their commitment and achievement in academia.


  • Ilaisaane Fifita

Her studies has been conducted at the University of Auckland. Awarded excellence in education for her doctoral research in business marketing, her research examined why Tongan and Pakeha women, non-smokers do not smoke.

  • Sisikula Sisifa

Completed her undergraduate studies at Massey University, in Business studies, marketing communications. She then completed her doctoral studies at the University of Auckland researching the management practice in Tonga, in five different development projects.

Both these participants are the first Tongan’s to graduate with PhD from University of Auckland’s Business School.


  • Tevita Tupou

Former head boy of Wesley College in 2016. Achieved overall school Dux in his final year of high school, topping English, Economics, Statistics and coming second in History. Currently studying a conjoint bachelor of commerce and law at the university of auckland.

  • Emeline Fine Langatotoa Mafi

Former Aorere College head girl in 2016, endorsing level three NCEA with excellence. Was Aorere College shared Dux, tying with another student in topping their classes. Emeline achieved many awards in her final year in high school including Alan Watson Performing Arts Award, The Lion Foundation senior prize, Head Girl Award, to name a few. She is now currently studying towards a bachelor of music, majoring in classical performance with her voice as her instrument.

  • Sisilia Fakalata

*Could not attend on the night*

For consistently topping academics at Tangaroa College from year 11 to year 12, Sisilia gained the 2016 Duz award in her final year. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in communications and psychology at the University of Auckland.

  • ‘Etina ‘Etivise Alakivailahi Ha’unga

Through her high school experience ‘Etina had consistently excelled in her studies and became one of Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate’s student leaders in her years there. She was also the 2016 Dux, and is now studying at the University of Auckland.

Community Work Awards

Sponsored by LeVa – community health organisation

This category recognises people in the community who are working away at making differences, focusing on the well-being of different groups in the community.

  • Veisinia Ha’unga, 22, Masilamea

Been committed to projects in South Auckland since her high school years, continued on into her university years where she committed herself to the education of primary school students and the betterment of education in South Auckland. She also is highly involved in her church youth group.

  • Sione Paea,22, Vava’u

Author of Failure taught me better, keep the faith that depicted his life story and the struggles he had to overcome to become successful. Through his success Sione supports the growth of Tongan business in New Zealand. He has been a major part of arising awareness and funds for the Child Cancer Foundation, he is number 6 on the top 10 fundraisers for the organisation.

  • Mele Tapueluelu, 20

Founded 412, a collective of young people that support South Auckland youth to success. Works within this initiative holding workshops with students to support and encourage positive problem solving for issues they are facing. She interned with the Auckland Council and working with a team that focused on creating innovative ways of getting solutions for issues in the community.

Youth Leadership Award

Sponsored by Vakatautua – Charitable organisation focusing on mental health and the overall well being of Pasifika people.

This category recognises future leaders of our community, students in this category are prefects in their school.

  • Tomasi Manase– Head boy of Wesley College
  • Tevita Muti Uilou– Prefect at St Pauls College
  • Ofa Fakakovikaetau– Prefect at Southern Cross College
  • Lemeki Namoa– Head prefect at Sacred Heart Colleg
  • Mele Tuipulotu Makisi Ha’unga– Head girl at Sir Edmund Collegiate
  • Mele Maka– Prefect at Auckland Seventh Day Adventist High School


This category recognises those in the community who have started and run their own business.

  • Fonua Fuavao of Samson Builds

Owner and co-founder of Samson Builds, a family business that he and his father and brother run. This business specialises on putting together exhibition, displays and kiosk at events.

With the company he has been able to work major events such at Vodafone Music Awards and Poly Fest, as well as long contracts with AUT and University of Waikato, and Te Wananga O Aotearoa.

  • Anthony Hala of The Fade Joint

Founder of Onehunga barber shop The Fade Joint, Anthony and his team offer a overall barber experience that provides not only great haircuts but a positive space to be. Since opening in February 2016 they now have 3 full time barbers.

  • Frankie Lolohea of FrancMarie Clothing Brand

FrancMarie was established in November 2015, and is owned and designed by Frankie. She has produced two collection, the first being inspired by her father and his work in printing. Her second collection was inspired by being your true authentic self and standing against all odds. She has also made some very memorable pieces for events such as the Vodafone New Zealand music awards.

  • Nuiafe Junior Malupo

Owner and head baker of Nui Cakery, Nuiafe is a self taught baker and cake decorator. Nuiafe gain many of his baking skills through his mother whom he had watched baking growing up. Nui cakery is fast becoming a Auckland staple for Birthday, wedding, and graduation cakes. His unique cake designs with incredibly detailed and personalised touches is what makes his stand out in his field.


This category recognises those in the community who are excelling in the field of arts, in dance, modelling, acting, music and creative art.


  • Emily Muli, 22 years old

Emily got her start on the stage of her church at fakame and has been performing ever since. She is now a singer songwriter with a passion and heart for people, she specifically uses her music to discuss and raise awareness for important issues in our society. Emily’s sound and song writing is unique and refreshing, she beautifully integrates soulful melodies with inspiring lyrics.

  • Geoff Siale Thomas, 24 years old

Geoff is a talented all round artist but decided to focus on his strengths and passion for the craft of tattooing. Since starting Geoff has developed many new skills in tattooing, especially for pasifika tattoos. He has also developed his understanding for the respect needed to work as a tattoo artist.

  • Jacob Filipe, 21 years old

Jacob is a dancer and choreographer, he has been able to dance for New Zealand’s prestigious dance crew Royal family at the Palace Studios and has been able to travel to America to dance. Through his work he has been able to dance in many dance companies and also teach within them.

  • Louis Ova, 24 years old

Came to NZ to complete his degree in computer science and got into modelling and acting as a side job. His career in acting and modeling has been able to finance his academic career. Now acting and modelling is a major part of Louis’s life and he has been working consistently on TV and in modelling.


  • Tiara Alatini

She is a dancer with Parris Goebel at the Palace Studio, she has been able to travel to the US to compete under Palace Studio dance crew Bubblegum Dance Crew at the world hip hop championship. Tiara is constantly taking classes to perfect her craft and works extremely hard to dance for the Palace Studio.

  • Selevasio Tuima, 14 years old

Started singing at age 7 and has become an internet sensation through his singing videos. He now gets professional training to maintain and develop his voice, at the Saintz Up Performing Arts Academy.


This category recognises excellences in the sports field at international, national and regional level.


  • Hemi ‘The Heat’ Ahio

Started his boxing career with the help of his uncle, deciding it would be good for him and made his start as a sparring partner with Mark Hunt. He claimed NZ heavyweight title in 2015, in the Super 8 Fight Night, beating his American Samoan opponent.

  • Augustine ‘Mad Dog’ Pulu

Augustine has built a solid foundation in New Zealand rugby and is on track with solidifying his name as one of the greatest halfback in rugby. He’s been able to play with the Counties Manukau Steelers for 6 years, Chiefs, Blues, the All Blacks and the All Blacks Sevens in Rio.

  • Lanulangi Veainu

She has been apart of nationally recognized teams since high school in many different codes, netball, basketball, touch and tag. She now represents New Zealand in women’s rugby league and has made a name for herself as a speedy winger in the rugby league community. She also constantly changes codes and represents Counties Manukau in Rugby union and Rugby league.

  • Junior Fa

Represented Tonga at the 2010 Commonwealth games winning bronze medal in the super-heavy division. He is currently ranked 74th heavyweight in the world by Box Rec. He has also been a solid representation for Tongan in Oceania Championships winning gold and multiple silver medals.

  • Solomone Kata

His pace, strength and fearlessness to run the ball straight is what makes him exciting to watch and one of the NRL’s most talented centres. He currently plays for the New Zealand warriors, and represented Tonga as well as New Zealand Kiwis.

  • Tupou Neiufi, 16 years old

An amazing swimmer Tupou has been able to represent New Zealand multiple times, including the 2016 Rio Paralympic games. At the young age of two Tupou was hit by car and was not supposed to walk again due to the severity of the head injury. Challenging the way we see disability Tupou is the essence of overcoming hardship. Not only overcoming it but building a career out of it and becoming one of the best in New Zealand swimming.


  • Elena Taiseni

Currently representing New Zealand in Volleyball, and was a part of the New Zealand Junior Womens team the travelled to Asia in 2016.

  • Lemeki Namoa

An exciting emerging talent in New Zealand rugby, captaining the historically great Sacred Heart College in two consecutive years, including a grand final appearance in 2016 Auckland A1 grade. Representing his school in different codes, showing his versatility that has ultimately gained him regional recognition.