Dreams made possible thanks to scholarship

Having the support of a scholarship has meant Ufitia Sagapolutele was able to achieve her study ambitions despite facing hardship.

She recently graduated from the University of Auckland with a Master of Dance Studies, something that seemed impossible after losing her mum and struggling financially.

With a Bachelor of Creative Arts from the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) under her belt, she took a year off after her mother died. She then enrolled in the Dance Studies programme at the University of Auckland and was awarded the Gavin and Susan Walker Postgraduate Scholarship in Dance Studies.

When Ufitia found out that she had received the scholarship it was a huge weight off her shoulders.

I cried. Only because I have never felt so stressed prior to hearing about the scholarship. I am so blessed I was chosen to receive the scholarship, and it confirmed I was on the right track by choosing to study.

Ufitia Sagapolutele

“The way I celebrated was by working harder than ever before, because I knew having people such as Gavin and Susan Walker, lecturers, family and friends by my side, nothing else could get in the way of achieving my goal in graduating with a Master of Dance Studies.”

Ufitia’s passion for dancing began when she was a young girl and she was encouraged by her parents to take classes in drama, music and dance.

Scholarships enable students to gain qualifications that may otherwise have been out of reach for them. Ufitia hopes more people follow in Susan and Gavin’s footsteps to support students.

“I think it is very important to have access to scholarships because they help those who need them the most.

“Keep believing in people like me, who aren’t fortunate enough to be able to financially support themselves. Just know that your support truly helps students like me, and we will be eternally grateful for the support.”

Eventually Ufitia hopes to begin her PhD, but for now, her focus is helping the next generation of Pacific dancers.

“I want to be a voice for people from South Auckland and the Pasifika community. We have all faced hardship in our lives, big or small, and during these battles, your dreams and goals may feel impossible to achieve. I want others to know that these battles are temporary and to keep pushing and fighting for what they love and believe in.”