"Graduating means the world to me. My grandparents sacrificed so much for me to have this opportunity, so this is my way of paying them back for their sacrifice.
To have my grandmother here to witness the fruit of her sacrifice, all her blood sweat and tears wasn't in vain."
Growing up in Tonga, Taufa moved to New Zealand and studied at Ōtāhuhu College from 2014 – 2019. From a young age, she knew she wanted to contribute to the health and well-being of Pacific people.
"Given the health disparities of our people, I've always wanted to take on a career within the health sector, which made me strive to pursue a career within dentistry."
In her final year of high school, she received the Sorensen Pacific Health Scholarship, enabling her to make the move to Dunedin to study at the University of Otago.
"Moving away from home by myself can be difficult, especially for my family, but the scholarship helped to relieve the financial stress off their shoulders."
Taufa's grandmother enjoyed watching her granddaughter cross the stage to receive her degree, sharing that this milestone is the foundation that Taufa can lean on in her future.
"I thank God for taking care of my granddaughter, and I'm happy. Graduating is important to me because it means she has a secure future, and when she has her own family, she'll be able to provide for them so that they can thrive."