Māori and Pacific Business Student of the Year 2021

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

winners of the Māori and pacific business student of the year 2020
Maraika Rose Saupo Lidgard (Māori winner 2020) and Aisake Havea (Pacific winner 2020).

Māori Business Student of the Year 2020

Maraika Rose Saupo Lidgard

Maraika completed her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Commerce conjoint degree, majoring in Marketing and Management in Semester One of 2020 and is in her final semester of the Bachelor of Property. Maraika also served as Treasurer of Te Mana Pakihi, the Māori Commerce Students' Association. She is of Māori and Samoan descent.

"Being the first wahine to be awarded the Māori Business Student of the Year award at the University of Auckland is a great honour and one that is extremely humbling. I'd like to thank Lisa Filitonga, Willie Uili and Ella Lyon from the Business School for helping guide my university journey. My academic pursuit was anything but straightforward and was made much easier because of your tautoko.

Massive mihi also to my whānau and friends. Your support never goes unnoticed and none of this would have been possible without you all. This award is just as much yours as is it mine!"

Pacific Business Student of the Year 2020

Aisake Havea

Aisake is in his final year of a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Property conjoint degree, majoring in Accounting and Taxation. Of Tongan descent, Aisake is a recipient of the University of Auckland Chancellor's Award for Top Māori & Pacific Scholars.

“I would like to thank God, my family, and all those who have contributed to me achieving this significant milestone. I would also like to acknowledge the enduring support of the Business school. As Pacific Business Student of the year, I endeavour students to always remember their purpose, to be ambitious and to dare to dream! But in all you do, always be mindful of those who brought you here, and for the opportunities you can afford for others.”

Competition guide 2020

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

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


All full-time students with Māori or Pacific Island heritage who are currently enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce, 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 one-page cover letter explaining how you meet the above criteria by answering the three questions detailed on the application form
  2. A transcript of your complete academic record at the University of Auckland including any conjoint degree
  3. A copy of your CV (maximum two A4 pages)
  4. A completed entry form  

Judging process

Stage 1

Each finalist will participate in four 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 whānau.

The prize

  • Māori Business Student of the Year $650 prize money
  • Pacific Business Student of the Year $650 prize money
  • Judge's Choice Award $150 prize money
  • Winners will have a photo and brief bio on the Business School's "Best in Business" display

All finalists will also receive a certificate. This years competition is sponsored by EY and all finalists are invited to an event with EY representatives.

Application form

Applications for 2021 are now open and will close on Friday 8th October.

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.

Simône Regan
Employer Liaison Manager
The University of Auckland Business School
Phone: +64 9 923 2199
Email: simone.regan@auckland.ac.nz