'I am passionate about fitness, well-being, and health equity...'
Bachelor of Health Sciences in Physical Activity Promotion and Public Health
Master of Health Sciences with an endorsement in Nursing
Studying towards a Doctor of Health Sciences
Fitness Trainer, Les Mills
Chairperson, Moana Vā – Navigators of Pacific Pride
Practice Nurse, Eastcare Health
Team Lead, Clinical & Health Promotion, Tangata Atumotu Trust
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, well-being, and health equity,’ he says. ‘I wanted to give back to my communities and this degree has set me up with the tools to give my very best in helping both individuals and communities.’
Suli particularly enjoyed the scope and proactive approach the undergrad degree had with its selection of courses.
‘I enjoyed the contrast and variety of papers that made up this degree (from the schools of Health Sciences, Sports Coaching, Biological Sciences, Geography). It focuses on health as “illness prevention”; rather than on “illness cure”. The degree enabled me to share my passion in empowering our Pasifika peoples to become fitter, healthier, and happier communities.’
Suli later completed his master’s with an endorsement in Nursing, which involved studying a Bachelor of Nursing through Ara Institute of Canterbury.
‘I am committed to health and well-being, and I was keen to pursue the clinical challenges of nursing. Those two years of study equipped me with the tools to take both a holistic and biomedical view of health and well-being in the community.’
As a UC student Suli has received other awards, winning a Ministry of Health Pacific Academic Scholarship, an Aniva Scholarship, a Pegasus Health Pacific Scholarship, and a Health Research Council Summer Studentship for his contribution to the Pasifika health community. He has also been a Mentor, Tutor, and received a number of UC Pacific Achievers Award for high grades.
With all his achievements so far, Suli plans to continue his support for the Pacific community through his doctoral studies.
‘I work within the Pacific community, focusing on health and well-being, especially in areas of physical activity promotion, health promotion, and community empowerment,’ he says. ‘I feel I have made a greater impact with the knowledge learnt from the various papers in the health science degree.
‘The students (even though they were half my age) kept 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 well-being are crucial to both an individual and the communities they belong to. 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.’