Marian College awards students colours and excellence awards for a variety of areas. These include:

Special Character

Sporting- Winter and Summer



The criteria for each award can be downloaded below.

Students are required to join the classroom pages for each area they are making an application for. They will then submit applications online.

Colours Applications

Colours Speech - Taylor Sumner

Malo le soifua ma le lagi e mamā. E muamua ona ave le fa’afetai atu I le Atua, fa’afetai fo’i mo lenei aso ma le avanoa.

Thank you to Mrs Davidson and the staff for the invitation to speak today.

Congratulations to those receiving academic colours. I hope you feel proud and inspired by your efforts.

Over the weekend I was thinking about what I wanted to share with you today. I thought about the things that I’ve done since high school and what I would want my younger sisters to know. So that’s what I’m going to share. Coincidentally both of my sisters are in this room, so Lasela and Katerina, I hope you’re both listening.

But first of all, ko wai au? Who am I?

I can’t tell you about me, without first telling you about my grandparents.

My grandparents are two of the best people I will ever know. They migrated from Samoa in the 1960s and dreamt, prayed, worked and sacrificed for a better life for our family. They’re very strong in their Catholic faith and taught me to believe that everyone has something special about them. They also modelled life-long learning – they were constantly encouraging me to seek, learn, do and become more. I think as a result of their faith and curiosity, I grew up to have this almost delusional level of self-belief and this idea there are endless possibilities for what I could do with my life.

I finished high school a while a go now. I’ve always been a proud old girl of the college and there’s no denying that my time here, particularly my last year, shaped me. It would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity to acknowledge the incredible teachers I had. I won’t name them all, but there is one in particular that I want to mention – Miss Dick. She taught me for accounting and economics from year 10 – year 13 so she had quite a bit to do with me. One of the things I’ll speak about today is about believing in your potential and she is someone who undoubtedly helped me to see mine. That was such a powerful gift, because I don’t think I would’ve gone on to do the things I have, had it not been for that. Fa’afetai tele lava Miss Dick for backing me and helping me see my superpower.

When I was at high school, I did a bit of everything. One of my favourite extra curriculars was being in the Polyfest group. We were a small group of girls who loved our culture, and sharing it with others. I played rugby, softball, basketball and volleyball. I wasn’t the best sportswoman, but I always gave it a go. I was also part of the monetary policy team. It was a very niche group, and rather than compete on a sports field, or a stage, our team competed with other high schools to assess economic conditions and make a prediction for the official cash rate. Like I said, very niche.

I love learning and thrive under a challenge, so for me, university was the natural next step after high school. I wasn’t 100% sure on what I wanted to study, but politics fascinated me, and I knew that I was good at accounting. I used these two subjects as a base and tried a whole bunch of other subjects to see what fit.

I also knew that I didn’t want to study in Christchurch. I applied for several scholarships and was very lucky to receive a few. I say luck, but it was partially due to a very intentional decision I had made the year before. I had researched scholarships in year 12 and realised that majority of them were based on my NCEA level 2 grades – so I studied hard that year, and studied smarter. I focused on what I was good at, and had wonderful teachers supporting me. In the grand scheme of things, the chemistry class that I failed in year 12, and the calculus class that I pretty much failed in year 13 didn’t really matter.

In the end I moved to Auckland for university and after 6 years, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and pacific studies and a Bachelor of Commerce in accounting.

There were lots of detours along the way and I won’t sugarcoat it, I didn’t enjoy my first few years at university. But halfway through I did a semester exchange to the University of Leeds. This was one of the best things I could’ve done. I loved exploring and experiencing other cultures, and my time abroad reinforced two things – that there is a big wide world for me to explore, and that there are so many different ways to live your life.

A week after I returned from the UK my nana was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She was receiving palliative care in Christchurch, so rather than return to studies in Auckland, I stayed in Christchurch. I enrolled at UC for the semester and spent five months hanging out with my nana and showing her everyday how much I loved her.

We lost her in July 2016 and the next month I was on a one-way ticket to Samoa. I spent 16 months living in Samoa with my papa in our village Mulifanua, which is a time I will always cherish. By the time I left, I felt so confident and empowered in my identity as a tama’ita’i Samoa.

After Samoa I returned to Auckland for my final year of university. I still had no idea what I wanted to do after, but I knew I didn’t want to be an accountant. When a career advisor suggested public policy, I thought “yeah, that sounds like me”. So I applied, got the job and then moved to Wellington a few months later.

I’ve worked in public policy for almost six years now. My job is to help the Government identify problems, present Ministers with solutions and then implement their decision. I’ve worked in several areas – from trade to employment law and now energy markets. My current project is about renewable energy and the changes required to generate more renewable energy so we can transition away from fossil fuels and meet our climate change goals. Totally random right? It has nothing to do with what I studied, but the opportunities piqued my interest and I knew I could learn.

This is a job I never knew existed six years ago. I never dreamt that I would get to do what I’m doing now. There have been so many pinch me moments – I’ll never forget my first meeting in the Beehive or the speech I got to draft for Hon. Jacinda Ardern.

I share all these things to show that there are so many opportunities after school and there is no set path you have to follow.

This leads me to my three top tips.

Number 1 – be open.

There are opportunities that will only present themselves if you are open to them. You don’t need to know where you’re going, but you do need to want to go somewhere. You’ve got to get yourself to the start line.

When opportunities arise, ask yourself why not, rather than why. Don’t be afraid to do things differently – there’s no rule book and don’t worry if things don’t go according to your plan.

Number 2 – be graceful.

Learn to give yourself and others grace.

You will make mistakes – that’s what it means to be human. Take the lesson, forgive yourself, and move on.

And forgive others too. Generally, everyone is trying their best, so be kind. My nana would always say “fa’avaivai lou loto”, which means ‘soften your heart’ and is something I try to live by.

Number 3 – back yourself.

Don’t place limits on yourself, because your potential is endless.

There is a lot in life you can’t control, but you can control how you show up, what you do with your talents and what you choose to believe about yourself. So choose to believe in your greatness. I believe that everybody has something special about them. Your job is to find yours, hone it, and share it.

So, be open. Be graceful. Back yourself.

Fa’afetai lava and congratulations again to today’s recipients.