New Zealand High Commission Suva, Fiji

Students present thought provoking ideas in their essays

The overall winners of this essay competition with Dr Singh and Peter Lund

It was a proud moment for the winners of the secondary school essay competition when they were honoured with certificates, rewards, and trophies on 17 July. The ceremony was held at the New Zealand High Commission (NZHC) Residence and attended by students, teachers, parents and other guests.

The High Commission joined hands with Fiji Association of Auckland in providing the opportunity for high school students across the country to show their essay writing skills.

The essay competition also marked the 40th Anniversary of Fiji’s Independence.

Entrants in the competition were asked to focus on the theme of Fiji’s role in international organisations on issues such as the environment, gender and social concerns or regional engagement.

Chief guest Dr Satendra Singh, who was also one of the adjudicators of the competition, praised highly the participants and their interest in the essay competition themes. .

“The range of essays received spoke well of the high standard in both research and progressive ideas which emanated from students,” said Dr Singh.

Dr Singh was touched by some of the essays as it reminded him of his experience while working for the Fiji government under the leadership of Fiji’s founding Prime Minister Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara in 1970s as his Treaty Officer.

Dr Singh said that students examined some of the issues that once Fiji faced as a young nation as it established itself in the international community.

“Students in their essays highlighted Fiji’s extended links throughout the region and throughout the world, which formed the basis of much of where the nation headed after independence,” he added.

New Zealand Trade Commissioner Mr Peter Lund also addressed the vital contemporary issues raised and congratulated the students for writing well researched, perceptive and imaginative essays.

The 15 overall winners were divided into four categories of Distinction, Excellence, Merit and Commendation.

Keresi Samuta from Suva Christian Community High School and Menon Ram from Bhawani Dayal Arya College were the overall top winners of the competition.

Both of them in their essays focussed on the environment and the importance of regional and international cooperation in protecting and preserving Fiji’s bountiful environment, both on land and sea.

They were awarded with the Certificate of Distinction, trophies and prize money of $1000.00 each.

Three students under Excellence category were also awarded with $500 each while five students under Merit and Commendation categories were awarded with $300 and $200 each respectively.

Keresi Samuta’s essay examined the United Nations and made the strong case that tiny as we are, Fiji has made noticeable waves in big international waters, particularly in peacekeeping, environment issues and the laws surrounding our archipelago.

Menon Ram’s work took a creative approach by setting out on a journey as a sting ray, living an eventful life in the waters of Fiji, depicting the hazards and impacts of environmental changes, and being rescued by efforts from regional organizations.

Important issues impacting on international cooperation were also addressed by competition entrants, including gender equality, conflict resolution and climate change.

Other essays also focused on the longstanding linkages between Fiji and New Zealand.

Mr Lund said that as a long standing friend and partner of Fiji in the South Pacific, New Zealand shares many of the environmental and social challenges that the writers addressed.

“New Zealand and Fiji are both young nations, and we share strong and proud indigenous cultures that provide an anchor and foundation for our development as modern independent nations,” he added.

He further added that both Fiji and New Zealand rely on global connections in trade and tourism as the lifeblood of the two economies. Both countries are conscious that this requires sustainable and environmentally responsible development for the future.

“These concepts have been readily seized on by the talented essay writers. The result has been some outstanding essays, entertaining and thought provoking, that illustrate what a capable generation-in-waiting we have.”

Dr Singh and Mr Lund also visited Suva Christian Community High School and Bhawani Dayal Arya College to address assemblies and present a commemorative plaque honouring the students’ outstanding achievement.

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