The scholarships aim to get more Pacific people to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects at a tertiary level and ultimately increase the number of Pacific people in those fields.

Pacific Peoples Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga recently announced up to four Toloa Scholarships of $25,000 over three years each, will be offered each year to first year undergraduate and postgraduate Pacific students studying STEM-related papers.

Successful applicants will also be offered an industry internship in the final year of study.

The Toloa Scholarships have been set up because there is a shortage of Pacific people involved in these fields in New Zealand, Lotu-Inga said. 

“It is important that this workforce reflects the make-up of our general population,” he added.

“Our government has recognised the need to encourage young Pacific people into these sectors.”

The Toloa Scholarships are open to Pacific peoples who are NZ citizens or permanent residents and who are, or will be enrolled in a STEM-related full-time degree or course at an approved NZQA accredited tertiary provider in NZ for the 2016 academic year.

Toloa derives from the Tongan name for the Southern Cross. 

Navigators used the Toloa constellation to determine south when travelling between the islands of the Tongan Archipelago and beyond.

Applications for next year are now open and they close on December 11, 2015. 

Visit pacificstem.org.nz for more information about the Toloa Scholarships for Pacific STEM scholars.