Report – By T J Aumua
University expenses in Auckland have forced some Pacific students to take matters into their own hands.
Five Pacific nursing students have been using their cooking skills by selling plates of food to raise money for their textbooks.
Joanne Samu Ikitau, 22, who comes from a single parent home, says there is a lot of financial pressure on her mother who provides for Ikitau and her sister.
She fundraised because her student allowance provided by Studylink came late and she needed to buy stationery and textbooks for her course.
Twenty-one-year old Caz Oyagawa said she fundraised because her student allowance was not enough as she did not live in her parental home and did not get any financial support from her parents.
“If I pay my board and do my grocery shopping, I’m only left with 20 or 30 bucks,” she told Pacific Scoop.
Oyagawa said “university resources” were her biggest struggle so she would use the fundraised money to buy stationary and textbooks.
Other students in the group said even though they worked, their student allowance was not enough. Many of them had to give part of their allowance and pay to their parents to help support their family and many other siblings.
One group member said her family had recently taken in three cousins and one aunty.
“It does get a bit annoying having to go and ask Mum and Dad for money for textbooks,” she said.
She was going to use her part of the fundraised money to buy a mathematics textbook, priced around $60.
Many of the girls said transport was the most costly item for them and financial strain had been put on their families because of the increasing costs of petrol and public transport.
“It’s all right coming to school with no lunch; I don’t mind that, as long as I get to school,” one of the girls said.
“But for my parents, it’s hard for them – they don’t like us going away when there’s nothing to eat.”
T J Aumua is a Bachelor of Communication Studies journalism student at AUT University.