Easter Faasoo-Tuilagi

Class of: 2009
School: Tangaroa College
Scholarship Partner: Spark New Zealand
With both parents having passed away, Easter and her siblings lived with their grandparents. At the time of her First Foundation application she remarked: "my family always encourage me to be the best, do my best and to go to University." Easter aspired to study particularly at The University of Auckland.

This ambitious young woman was an integral part of her College where she was described as having 'brilliant leadership skills, a well-organised manner and a way of aiming for excellence in all she undertakes. Easter is a wonderful example of what we strive to achieve in every young person.' Showing early signs of academic strength, Easter was Yr 10 Dux in 2007. She went on to be a Prefect, the 2010 student representative on the Board of Trustees, Yr 13 Historian of the Year, Dilworth Trustees Award winner and recipient of the Otago University Pacific Islander Leadership and Achievement Scholarship. Easter's extracurricular activities were extensive as she was committed to numerous sporting, cultural and leadership positions.

"Easter's focus and commitment to her goals balanced with her ability to build rapport with us made her really stand out from the rest" said Paul Hayes, GM Product Management for Telecom (Spark NZ), when announcing her as one of their First Foundation Scholars.

Easter has fulfilled her family's and her personal goals for tertiary education by graduating in 2013 from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts, double major in Linguistics and English Language Acquisition. She was the only undergraduate and Pacific Islander invited on her Linguistic Professor's team. Easter has also worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Undergraduate Equity Co-ordinator at the University of Auckland whilst studying and after completing her degree.

In March 2014 she started a BA (Hons) in Pacific Linguistics. In August of that year she travelled to the University of Birmingham to continue with her Honours degree in Sociolinguistics and completed this at the end of 2014. Her first research project was in San Pedro, Guatemala. (She was also offered a MA place at Kings College).

Whilst at Birmingham University Easter was a contract Linguist with the Language App company in London (Eurotalk) and after completing her Honours she also worked at the University of Leicester in Admissions and Support. She continued with both positions until she moved back to Auckland in July to do some more field work and take up the position of MAPAS advisor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (University of Auckland) until November. Early December 2016, Easter presented a research paper at a Linguistics International Conference in Poland.

In September Easter submitted her thesis for her Masters in Arts at Brimingham University and expects to graduate in the Summer Graduation Ceremony 2017.

Easter is currently in her first year of PhD studies at Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Her research will look at the Third Gender Dialect in Samoa and Pacific Communities. She has a passion for research especially in the field of Pacific Linguistics, particularly working with the LGBTQUI community. 

After completing her PhD, Easter wants to lecture at tertairy level and continue to do research.