Celebrating Scholarships and 15 Years of Pasifika Excellence for Le Va

Pasifika-led organisation Le Va held a glittering awards ceremony on 25 May for the recipients of the Futures that Work Pacific mental health and addiction scholarships in 2023.

More than 360 guests came together to honour the scholarship recipients and to help Le Va celebrate its 15-year anniversary as an organisation. Le Va is the arm of the Wise Group dedicated to meeting the wellbeing needs of Pacific communities.

In attendance were guests of honour Deputy Prime Minister Hon Carmel Sepuloni and Hon Marama Davidson, with keynote speakers Reverend Uesifili Unasa, Hon Barbara Edmonds and Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann.

165 students were awarded Le Va’s Futures that Work scholarships for the Pasifika mental health and addiction workforce in Aotearoa, funded by Te Whatu Ora.

Dwaine Faletanoai, a mental health and addiction manager at Te Whatu Ora, said of the scholarships, “I’ve been blessed to receive six or seven now. They’ve basically funded my whole postgrad study. I’m from a small family – just me, my Mum and my sister. We were state home dwellers growing up, but education was important.

‘Massive thanks and appreciation for everything Le Va has done to support me to achieve something for my family and for the Pacific community. It’s been a long study journey – a lot of challenges, a lot of joys, a lot of close to tears moments.”

Since 2009, Le Va has administered this important investment into the careers of the psychologists, counsellors, social workers, nurses and other practitioners who will help improve health outcomes for Pacific people.

Successful applicants receive mentorship and pastoral care alongside the financial support, as well as tools to help them complete their studies and achieve their goals.

Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave, Chief Executive of Le Va, said to the students, “Education is the key that unlocks a world of opportunities. By completing your studies, you equip yourself with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to pursue your dreams.

Embrace the joy of learning, for it broadens your horizons and empowers you to make a positive impact. Your education is an investment in yourself that will open doors, inspire others, and lead you to a fulfilling and successful life of service.”

Reverend Uesifili Unasa
Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann
Deputy Prime Minister Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave
scholarship recipients
Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave, blowing out birthday candles for Le Va
Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave
scholarship recipients
Te Whatu Ora Team with Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Hon Barbara Edmonds
Denise Kingi-‘Ulu’ave presenting flowers to Hon Carmel Sepuloni
Le Va Team and guests
Published on: 31 May 2023