Thought Leadership

Meet Our 2023 PU x AUT Scholarship Recipient: Lee Makatoa

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Introducing Lee Makatoa, our 2024 

PU x AUT Scholarship recipient.

At Previously, we’re dedicated to fostering a diverse talent pool of future creatives and innovators. Our PU x AUT Scholarship is designed to support and uplift talented Māori and Pacific students, supporting them with the resources and opportunities to excel in their academic and professional journeys. 


We’re thrilled to introduce Lee Makatoa as our 2023 scholarship recipient. Lee’s dedication to personal growth and her love for creativity make her a perfect fit for our scholarship program.

In addition to covering tuition fees, the scholarship offers recipients valuable mentorship and hands-on experience through part-time work with Previously Unavailable during semester breaks, to help them with the skills and connections needed for a successful career in the creative industry.
We sat down with Lee to learn more about their journey, inspirations, and what excites her most about this scholarship.

Here’s what she had to share:



Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?


My name is Lee, and I’m a 22-year-old communication design student at AUT. I was raised by a German mother and a Niuean father alongside my four siblings in Huia, West Auckland.

What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I like to read, paint, and cook. I find these are the times that I feel fully relaxed.



Favourite food?

This is kinda specific, but I love Eden Noodle Cafe on Dominion Road; I am a loyal customer.



What's your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

I love spending time with friends and family when I have free time, being able to catch up on each other’s lives and also experience new things together.



What's a fun fact that most people don't know about you?

I don’t know how to whistle :(



Who inspires you? What is it about them that inspires you the most?


I am always inspired by the women in my life, whether it be my mum, my sisters, or my best friends. I love the way they offer themselves unapologetically to the world, and they inspire me to always stick up for myself and my values.



What excites you most about receiving this scholarship?

The thing that excites me the most about receiving this scholarship is the experience that comes along with it. A big thing that I was drawn to was the chance to meet and interact with people in the design industry and be able to take away valuable knowledge that will give me a solid foundation as a student. It’s such a crazy opportunity to have, and I can’t wait.

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We are incredibly proud to support Lee on her journey and look forward to seeing the amazing contributions she’ll make to the creative industry. 


Congratulations, Lee!





Applications for our 2024 Scholarship will open in July. Applicants must complete the application online through the AUT Scholarships Database. 


For full details about the scholarship, including eligibility criteria and application requirements, please refer to the guide linked here:



Previously AUT Creativity and Innovation Scholarship.

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