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Ten students from one Aiga

Eteuati Family Image
From left: Rev Tema Alailima-Eteuati, Noah Eteuati-Rooney, Christian Poloma Eteuati, Johanius Eteuati, Esmay Lemalu-Eteuati, Patrick Eteuati, Jasmine Eteuati, Ella Eteuati-Rooney, Leinatioletuitoga Eteuati, Absent: Jimmy Junior Eteuati

Ten members of one Aiga (family) are currently studying at the Dunedin Campus in 2021.

Despite growing up spread across Samoa, New Zealand and Australia, the Eteuati family members, mostly cousins, have always been close. Their uncle, Tema Alailima-Eteuati, says studying together is no coincidence. Tema, who is also a Reverend from Samoa, is currently completing his PhD in Theology.

“I was sent over by my church (Samoan Methodist) as part of my work to study here. When I complete this, I will then go back to Samoa to continue my work there.”

“We are a close-knit Samoan family and being here together is important to us. Every third Sunday when our family back in Samoa get together, those of us here at Otago also get together. It’s an important tradition for us to do and it helps us.”

Of the family’s current generation of students, the first to arrive was Leinatioletiuitoga (Leinati) Eteuati. She is now completing a second degree, Postgraduate Diploma in Marine Science.

“I was the first, in this generation of grandchildren, to study at Otago. I chose this university because I believe it’s one of the best for Marine Science.”

After beginning her studies at Otago, Leinati, the eldest grandchild, managed to convince her cousins to choose Otago too.

Eteuati Family Image 2
Jimmy Junior Eteuati (centre) is currently on Placement in Invercargill and is part of the ten family members currently studying at Otago.

Esmay Lemalu-Eteuati, one of the Eteuati aunts, works in the Division of Commerce and is also studying a Doctor of Business Administration degree. Also in the group is Esmay’s daughter Jasmine who is in her second year of study at Otago.

The Eteuati family members are at different stages of their studies in subjects such as Medicine, Law, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Environmental Science, Marine Science, Geography, Pacific Island Studies and Health Science.

While this is the most the Eteuati family has had studying at Otago in one go, they also have family members who are alumni of the University who came here on scholarship from Samoa.

Kōrero by Internal Communications Adviser, Chelsea McRae