Commerce students selected for United States Leadership Tour 2018

03 October 2017
Photo of Te Wai Coulston
BA/BCom conjoint student Te Wai Coulston

Te Wai Coulston (Ngai Tahu, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Porou) is one of a delegation of 16 university students selected for the United States Leadership Tour next year. They will represent New Zealand at the Harvard National Model United Nations and attend diplomatic meetings all around the US from January to February 2018.

The delegation includes six students from the University of Auckland, four of those from the Business School: Te Wai, James McDonald, Antonia Anda and Te Ariki Te Puni. They will visit five US cities in four weeks, the tour culminating at the Model UN conference, which Te Wai says “is as close to the real thing as you can get”.

Born and raised in Gisborne, Te Wai excelled at Gisborne Boys’ High. From there, he chose to study at the University of Auckland in order to learn about the “big problems in the world today, and how to solve them”.

Te Wai is now in his second year of a conjoint degree (Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in politics and international relations, sociology, economics and international business). On top of this hefty work load, Te Wai is currently the Challenges Lead for Velocity, the University’s student-led entrepreneurship programme, volunteering for UN Youth New Zealand, and heading for a summer internship at the Treasury.

His first experience of the Model UN conference was at The Hague International Model United Nations in January 2016, where he was part of a team that looked at how the UN is financed. This trip included an educational study tour across Europe, where the delegates visited New Zealand embassies in Paris, Geneva, Vienna and Rome. They were also thrilled to meet Helen Clark in New York on the way to Europe.

When he graduates, Te Wai has big aspirations, to “some day build a network of social enterprises, balancing business profitability with investment in social impact”.

He is very humble about his achievements, attributing his success in no small part to his many role models and mentors at the University, whom he found through CAPM (Commerce Association Pacific Island and Māori), Velocity and Nga Tauira Māori.

“They have guided me throughout my journey, and inspire me to keep reaching higher”, he says.