Saia Mataele

Saia is studying for a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Arts in Pacific Studies.

Saia Mataele

“For my Master of Arts in Pacific Studies, I’m exploring the rise of seabed mining in Tonga and its implications. “I’m also the current Tupu Tai Pasifika intern for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

“I was born and raised in Tonga before migrating to New Zealand in 2003. Since then I’ve resided in Mangere, South Auckland.

“I was inspired to pursue this topic by a conversation with my supervisor Professor Damon Salesa during my honours year which made me realise the importance of this topic to the field of academia, to my country of birth, and my region of interest: the Pacific.

“My experiences as a Pacific postgraduate student in the Faculty of Arts have been good thus far. I have had the privilege to participate in events where I got the opportunity to network and engage with other postgraduate students and academics. Such experiences have contributed to my learning and research through having the opportunity to share and discuss my ideas and research with others and receive constructive feedback that will further develop my knowledge.

“There are also a lot of seminars, field trips and conferences (locally and internationally) that are available for postgraduate students.

“Taking part in these opportunities has been one of many highlights as a postgraduate student. I was fortunate enough to be part of the I Lakolako I Viti field school to Fiji in 2015, which provided the opportunity to further my experience and knowledge of what I am studying.

“The skills that I have acquired throughout my studies are transferable and can be utilised on a day-to-day basis. My study has honed my communication, analytical and critical skills.

“An Arts degree offers the opportunity for you to develop relevant skills that employers look for. Often it is the skills you have and not the title of your degree that will secure you employment.”


Find out more about Pacific Studies