'I would love to work within the Pacific community focusing on health and wellbeing...'
Bachelor of Health Sciences in Physical Activity Promotion and Public Health
Studying towards a Master of Health Sciences Professional Practice with an endorsement in Nursing
Fitness Trainer, Les Mills
Running Coach, Extra Mile Runners
After spotting a billboard advertising UC’s Bachelor of Health Sciences when it was first introduced in 2012, Suli leapt at the chance to gain a qualification in his main interests and has since ‘never looked back’.
‘I am passionate about fitness and happiness,’ he says. ‘I want to give back to the community and this degree will set me up with the tools I need to give my very best in helping both individuals and communities.’
Suli particularly enjoys the scope and proactive approach the undergrad degree takes with its selection of courses.
‘I enjoy the contrast and variety of papers that make up this degree (from the schools of Health Sciences, Sports Coaching, Biological Sciences, Geography). It focuses on health “illness prevention”; rather than on “illness cure”. The degree will enable me to share my passion in empowering our Pasifika peoples to become fitter, healthier and happier communities.’
Suli is now studying towards his master’s with an endorsement in Nursing, which also involves studying towards a Bachelor of Nursing through partnership with Ara.
‘I am committed to health and wellbeing, and I am keen to pursue the clinical challenges of nursing. The next two years of study will hopefully equip me with the tools to take both a holistic and biomedical view of health and wellbeing in the community.’
Suli is able to put his skills into practice in his role for Les Mills as a Fitness Trainer teaching group classes and at Extra Mile Runners as a Running Coach, coaching groups from beginners to seasoned marathon runners. His efforts have been recognised with a People’s Choice Award and a Group Fitness Instructor Award at the New Zealand Fitness Awards in 2015.
As a Pacific student Suli has received a number of other awards, winning a Ministry of Health Pacific Academic Scholarship, an Aniva Scholarship, a Pegasus Health Pacific Scholarship and a Health Research Council Summer Studenship for his contribution to the Pacifika health community. He is also a Mentor, Tutor and representative for the Pacific Development Team (PDT), as well as receiving a UC Pacific Achievers Award for high grades.
With all of his achievements so far, Suli plans to continue his support for the Pacific community as a career.
‘I would love to work within the Pacific community, focusing on health and wellbeing, especially in areas of physical activity promotion and community empowerment,’ he says. ‘I feel I have made of a greater impact with those who I train with the knowledge base learnt from the various papers in the degree.
‘The students (even though they are half my age) keep me on my toes and the support from teaching staff through to the support services that are on offer are world class. I love the green spaces and the raft of opportunities on offer from UC.’
Suli offers some important advice for those thinking of studying Health Sciences.
‘Health and wellbeing is crucial to both an individual and to society as a whole. This degree sets you up with the knowledge base to face crucial health issues relating to society today. You have to know what you want from the degree. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, everyone is here to help. You have to take ownership of your own destiny.’