Westpac Māori and Pacific Business Student of the Year 2018

The Award is for the Business School student who has displayed excellence in academic performance, community service, communication skills, extra-curricular activities and knowledge of world issues.

Susana Taufa-Vunipola (Pacific winner 2018) and Te Wai Ariki Coulston (Māori winner 2018).

Māori Business Student of the Year 2018

Te Wai Ariki Coulston, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou

Te Wai is a third year Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts Conjoint degree, majoring in Politics, Māori, Economics and International Business. He is the Co-President of Te Mana Pākihi, the newly established Māori Commerce Students’ Association. Te Wai has been a recipient of the Matakahi Scholarship, Toi Uru Roa Scholarship, and the Chancellor’s Award for Top Māori and Pacific Scholars.

“I am truly humbled by this award, and have so many people to thank. The business school has supported me to be where I am today. But as time goes on, I have realised that the greatest success comes from the collective, not the individual. That’s why we founded Te Mana Pākihi―to enhance Māori engagement and success, as Māori, at the business school.

“For anyone considering applying for this award, I’d say just go for it! Patua te whakamā! This space is all about celebrating MPI achievement, so put yourself forward and see what happens.”

Pacific Business Student of the Year 2018

Susana Taufa-Vunipola 

Susana is in her final year of a Bachelor of Commerce and Arts degree majoring in Marketing, Management, Politics and Pacific Studies. She is of Tongan and Niuean decent. She is the Pacific Co President of the Commerce Association for Pacific and Māori Students (CAPM). She has also been a Pacific Ambassador for the University of Auckland in inspiring young people in regards to realising their potential and tertiary education. She is currently working for WorldVision under their Marketing and Engagement team and volunteering for TOKO Charitable Trust as their Youth in Service in their suicide prevention programme.

To God be the glory! This achievement was truly humbling and one I did not achieve by myself. This one was a village achievement.
I am truly humbled for the relentless love and support from the support staff at the Business School especially our Pacific supporters, the likes of Lisa, Willie and Ruby. I would like to acknowledge and honor them and those who have assisted me and supported me on this journey.

I really do encourage our young tauira Maori and Pasifika students to challenge themselves and take up their passions. I know that this is our time to do really well for ourselves and our people.

Competition guide 2018

The Westpac Māori and Pacific Business Student of the Year award assesses students on the following criteria:

  • Academic performance
  • Communication, including written, informal and prepared speech
  • Service to the community
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Business, national and world events


All full-time students with Māori or Pacific Island heritage who are currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Business and Information Management or a Bachelor of Property at the University are eligible.

Students enrolled in conjoint degrees are also eligible, as long as one of their degrees is Commerce or Property. Students must have completed at least two semesters of study before they are eligible to enter.

Assessment process

Candidates for the Māori and Pacific Business Student of the Year must submit:

  1. A transcript of your complete academic record at the University of Auckland including any conjoint degree
  2. A one-page cover letter explaining how you meet the above criteria by answering the three questions detailed on the application form
  3. A copy of your CV (maximum two A4 pages)
  4. A completed entry form  

Judging process

Stage 1

Each finalist will participate in six five-minute interviews with six judges. The topic of the interviews may cover:

  • Your extra-curricular activities
  • Your involvement in community, voluntary and service
  • World events
  • National events
  • Business events
  • Role of ethics in business
  • Career plans

Stage 2

Each candidate will make a five minute speech on the topic. The topic will be announced to the finalists when they are shortlisted. This will take place in an open forum with invited guests including friends and family.

The prize

  • Māori Business Student of the Year and Pacific Business Student of the Year
  • People's Choice Award 
  • Winners will have a photo and brief bio on the Business School's "Best in Business" display
  • Prize money of $1,000

All finalists will also receive a certificate.

Important dates

Imporant dates for 2019 will be announced in the new year.

Application form

Applications are currently closed.

Contact us

For more information, please contact:

Willie Uili
Student Support Adviser
The University of Auckland Business School
Phone: +64 9 923 7120
Email: w.uili@auckland.ac.nz.