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Deputy PM meets with Tongan students at Waikato University

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19th May, 2017 The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for MEIDECC and Foreign Affairs Hon Siaosi Sovaleni and the Tongan delegation to New Zealand met with Tongan students at Waikato University (Hamilton Branch) on Monday this week after signing the MOU with Waikato University regarding cybercrime.

A traditional Maori welcome haka was performed by the Tongan students followed by an opening prayer conducted by Rev. Sione Molitika. Some members from the Tongan community in Hamilton and some students from Samoa also took part in the meeting.

Hon Sovaleni in an encouraging speech said the purpose of the Tongan delegation visit was to sign an agreement with Waikato University to help Tonga in areas of cybercrime, security and safety.

Hon Sovaleni discussed with students the effects of climate change in Tonga as most of the students present are taking Environmental Science. He also encouraged students to take Science because there is a great need for Science teachers in Tonga.

The students acknowledged that the meeting was a once in a lifetime experience that someone with a high-level position visit them at school.

Students also asked whether it is possible to conduct their internship in Tonga and Hon Sovaleni responded that Tonga is always open to assist students with their research, internships and so forth. The students also requested if such visit can be conducted more often in the future.

There are approximately 150 Tongan students currently studying at Waikato University. Most of them were born and raised in New Zealand or migrated to New Zealand. Among the Tongan students only a few of them are from Tonga are currently pursing further studies at the university.

Students are taking different majors such as Law, English, Computer Science, and Environmental Science and are taking part in various degree level programmes such as undergraduate, post-graduate, Masters and PhD.

ENDS

Issued by the: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications.

 

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