Whilst at King’s, Uhila was a recipient of an Endeavour Scholarship - awarded to Maori and Pasifika Boys for All Round Achievement from Year 7 to Year 13.
The Ministry for Pacific Peoples offers the Toloa Tertiary Scholarship to Pasifika students who wish to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. Each scholarship is valued up to $25,000 over three years of study, and eight of these are awarded each year.
This week, King’s caught up with Christian to talk about receiving his scholarship and studying Science at the University of Auckland.
What does receiving this scholarship mean for you?
Christian Uhila: I was lucky enough to be one of the eight recipients of the Toloa Tertiary Scholarship for 2017. To me, this scholarship serves as a huge financial aid towards my tertiary education and acts as a great opportunity for me to also have ongoing involvement in furthering education within the Pacific community. This scholarship also comes with a responsibility for me to work hard and strive to achieve the best that I can with such an amazing learning opportunity.
What made you decide to study a Bachelor of Science? Has it always been a passion of yours?
CU: I didn't realise that science was what I enjoyed until I really started to learn a lot about it during my time at King's. Of all the subjects I took in my earlier years at the College, the Sciences definitely held my interest and I enjoyed learning about how things worked on so many different levels. As a result, the Sciences; especially Chemistry, became the subjects that I got better at over time during my school years. Science also appeals to me as it one of the fastest growing industries that will help solve the new problems that the human population has to face on a daily basis.
How did your Endeavour Scholarship and your time at King's assist you in achieving an all-round education?
CU: The Endeavour Scholarship and my time at King's definitely served as a phenomenal learning experience that covered all facets of what education should be today. It's safe to say that my time at King's was not only unforgettable with regard to the culture and everyday experiences I had; but also in the sense that there is such a positive classroom environment around the school. One of the ideas that stuck with me throughout my time at King's was how all of my teachers had an obvious passion for students to succeed. I would definitely like to thank them for encouraging not only myself but other students in achieving their goals and for making my time at the College a great one. My education at King's wasn't only limited to the classroom; and thanks to the Endeavour Scholarship I was able to take part in community service ventures as well as sporting and music events which made my high school years that much more enriching and enjoyable.
What do you want to do once you graduate from university?
CU: At the moment I'm studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Auckland; majoring in Food Science and Nutrition. I intend to pursue the Food Science pathway, which addresses the chemical and biological processes that are involved in the production and preparation of food in the current food production and engineering industry. Once I graduate I would like enter the current food development industry and use this as a way to tackle health problems in New Zealand, and in particular I'd like to help Pacific people by using Food Science to do so. A Ministry of Health study in 2016 showed that 67 per cent of Pacific adults were classified as obese - I would like to use Food Science to help change how and what we eat as a community to provide for a better, healthier future.
Who is your biggest role model?
CU: My biggest role model is definitely my mother. Her endeavour and determination has been a value that is heavily integrated into our family; and she has always been an outstanding role model for me and my siblings. She’s raised us on her own and deserves endless praise for doing so. The amount of hard work she puts in ensures that we always have what we need; but her passion for us to do well through education has played a huge role in getting me to where I am today. She’s worked so hard to ensure I'm always applying myself towards awesome opportunities such as the Endeavour Scholarship and the Toloa Scholarship, and I aim to do what I can to give back to her for such a supportive and influential upbringing.