Fijian lass (from Kadavu) at Waikato Uni gets UN internship

(Source: Waikato Times)

Waikato University student Akanisi Nabalarua could soon be swapping stories at the water cooler with Helen Clark.

"You never know, it could happen," the 25-year-old law and management student said ahead of a two-month stint at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Miss Nabalarua has scored an internship at the Rule of Law Unit, where she will work on issues such as human rights, electoral reform, armed conflicts and criminal justice.

“It’s the very work I’m interested in doing once I finish my degree. There’s more to law than standing in a court room,” said the Kadavu lass.

"I can't find the words to encapsulate how excited I am," Miss Nabalarua said. "You think these kinds of things are so out of reach, but it is in your reach."

The final year student, who has wanted to be a lawyer since she was 10, spent all night studying before her phone interview with the UN.

"It was 7.30am in the morning and I was testing myself when the phone rang. I was nervous."

The next day she was told she had got the internship.

She believed it was her upbringing in Fiji that tipped the balance in her favour. "Fijian kids my age have been through four coups in their lifetime that's four more than anyone should."

Born in Fiji, Miss Nabalarua moved to Australia, before finally settling in New Zealand. She spent the end of last year in Belgium on exchange.

Working for the UN was her ultimate job.

"I got interested in them after I did a paper on public international law and human rights. I want to learn as much as I can while I'm there, because it's different than learning from a book."

Miss Nabalarua attended primary school in Suva and Canberra where her mother was studying and her secondary schooling at Auckland’s Wesley College. Her mother, Dr Eci Nabalarua, who previously taught at Waikato, is now Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) at the University of the South Pacific.

“My parents both spent time studying in England and encouraged me to travel and explore. In Belgium I spent hours and hours exploring World War One history. It captured me. It was like doing my own Amazing Race. I wasn’t born in New Zealand but to walk in the footsteps of our soldiers and appreciate what they went through was an amazing experience,” the young woman shared.

The position is unpaid and Miss Nabalarua will have to pay for her own airfares and living expenses, but she said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

She was now seeking help with funding the trip and had applied for several scholarships.

But Miss Nabalarua is no stranger to working hard having to work while studying to support her teenage sister after her mother returned to Fiji to work four years ago.

She did any odd job she could, while her sister at the time 15 got a part-time job at a law firm after school."It was hard, but good. We became a lot closer. But it was only possible with the support of family and friends in Hamilton."

Miss Nabalarua will head off to New York at the end of May and start at the UN on June 1. She will spend two months at the UN before returning to complete her BMS/LLB degree in time for October graduation.

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Such an inspirational story of perseverance. Well done Miss Nabalarua! Totoka vakaoti! God bless you in your endeavours.
Congratulations to you Marama Naita....!! Vinaka Oni for an inspiring story..
Nice one Tinai Hannah..!!
What an achievement & a great news not only to the Kadavuans but to all of us the Kaiviti. I'm sure this kind of news will lift our spirits up and Congratulate Miss Nabalarua on her success... despite of what's happening back @ home lately. Hail from small New Zealand, living & studying in Big New Zealand & now in the USA..?? Good on ya...Girl - Vinaka na gugumatua...!!

Well done Wesley graduate! So proud of her Tinai Hannah:)

Thanks so much for sharing this info dear one.

She was now seeking help with funding the trip and had applied for several scholarships

As a former Manhattanite (who went about my Manhattan experience the hard way - paying rent@US$2,754.00 per month of my share of the rent- in Midtown and Upper East/Upper West, and as a relative of her Mum's, am I prompted to leave a few ideas for her to consider:

Accommodation always stands as the most dominant of all expenses. I'm suggesting billeting within our Pacific community, preferably one of our very own who are based in our NY office - the last I knew, they were accommodated on Roosevelt Island which would suit her well. She can see the UN from there and it's literally within walking distance if she so desires (1) or room share (2) with the young'uns who work for the United Nations. Usually room share vacancies and apartment share vacancies are posted on their general notice boards. Only that the money factor would require she shares with 5 other gals to reduce the costs, where she might have to opt to live outside Manhattan, where she'll then be faced with extra costs (transport).

For transportation efficiency, a 2 months metro card from the very beginning as an essential purchase is advisable. Kindly recommend she looks this up for consideration:

Some within the community are always supportive of requests for billeting purposes. Know of a Kadavu lady - a real sweetheart by the name of Susana whose an accomplished nature photographer on the East coast who lives in Upstate NY (which will be too far unfortunately), but she's lovely if and when she get's homesick. She'll definitely make herself known to her, once she's out in the general Fijian community :) There is a Lauan gentleman who made partner at a hefty NY accounting firm who has a penthouse (and does not mix with our community), who would be ideal, only knowing her mother, that would be most inappropriate lol. Pity that, for he's a gentleman. There is a lovely lady in NJ who might consider billeting her, only that the dear girl would need to add the Path Train card added to her transport expenses.

So excited for her. Manhattan rrocks. Ideal for any young woman. The life of practical shoes to work (with the heels in a bag) lol.
How can I by pass this one without penning in my congratulations..! Congratulations over and over.!

You go girl..I would have appreciated more had you posted a note regarding the passing away of your late father last year ... Anyway have safe trip and may God Bless you in your future endeavors.
Congrats, and as the saying goes, "many are called but few are chosen". You fall in with the go on girl, dream big because sky is the limit!..Wishing you the best in your internship work experience.

so inspiring.....i'm currently a student at the matua program in nabua and after reading akanisi's really taught me that as she has mentioned that nothing is out of reach.....and with this GOD nothing is impossible.....really inspire me to work ms akanisi A BIG CONGRATULATIONS ON THE NEW YORK job....MAY all your plans be fulfilled
Bula Nanise...I know that there are two things that cannot be substituted; education and hard work....and you are a living testament in being a student of the Matua your best and God will most definately take care of the rest....congratulations on perservering and whether you realise it you're an inspiration as of luck
congrats gal......wen u on top gal....never take time out to worship




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