Like father like sonDoug Conway
The gift of giving
Sam Niulala (12St) felt pleased and proud to play a hands-on role in the Giving Day project raising funds for a scholarship in his father’s name.
Sam not only helped to bake the cakes and pastries given as thank you gifts to volunteers but also served as a volunteer himself, manning the phones called by donors.
His combined roles qualified him to savour the results of his own kitchen labours, which he no doubt did, given that brownies and desserts rank high on his list of favourite foods.
“It feels good to be helping with Giving Day,” he said as he joined a dozen Year 11 and 12 classmates cooking in Trinity’s Hospitality classrooms.
“With the scholarship fund opening, it’s good that another Pacific or islander young man can experience the education and opportunities that I have.
“My dad won a scholarship that took him from Tonga to New Zealand at the age of 16, and enabled him to get a better education.
“Back in the islands there were no proper classrooms or chairs; I remember dad telling me if it rained school was cancelled.
“Without his scholarship I probably wouldn’t even be here. You never know the impact a scholarship can have not just on the person (receiving it) but their families and other people in general.
“I feel like I’m helping those volunteers who have given up their time to help a student in the future.”
Sam said he hoped the Suli Niulala Memorial Scholarships would become “a proper thing, running forever” and giving a Trinity education to students who otherwise would not have the resources to attend the School.
He said he loved cooking as well as eating. “It’s fun, it’s relaxing, it’s like a distraction from other things because you have to stay focused on what’s happening, making sure you don’t burn things. It’s about staying in the moment.”
Sam’s mum Debbie Niulala said: “We are so excited that we could be able to give a boy – at least one boy – an opportunity to come to Trinity every year, forever. How wonderful would that be? If that’s even possible to be able to do, we have to go for it, we’ve just got to go for it.
“It’s wonderful that the scholarship has Suli’s name on it, but it’s just so important that we can give families from all walks of life this opportunity.”