Malo e ‘lelei ,Talofa and greeting to all

First of all I would like to give thanks to the man above for the amazing blessings he has given us today.

Wow, this day has finally come. The day I speak to you all.

I remember that it was back in 2016 I sat down with Louella and Binty for a catch up, and the thought of speaking in front of everyone was determined to be the goal. 4 years later I stand here before you all. It’s finally here.

For those who don’t know me by now .. my name is John Tagi. I am the youngest of 8 children including myself, and the first to attend university, and receive a degree in my family. I am currently furthering my education, undergoing my final year of Masters of Architecture at unitec, mt albert.

Being the youngest of a large family like mine has its pros and its cons. I always learnt the right way of getting out of trouble. My siblings’ shortfalls became my strengths. I would learn important things, such as never to sneak through the window from a late night but use the front door, because I knew I was always going to get caught, or Knowing to remember my dates’ names after the first date.

So you could say through my siblings I learnt to try and prepare myself for the future obstacles that I’m confronted with every day growing up.  My father is a master stonemason and runs a Rockwall company that specializes in residential projects (That’s All stone and Rock if any of you are in a need of a stonewall we can talk later). The company involved a lot of physical labor. Being the youngest i learnt the way of the labour life from a young age, and I would say going through that experience I have reaped the aftermaths on my lower back. Although it had physical tolls on my body now, through those labor experiences I was introduced to the beauties that the construction industry had to offer. During these site visits with my father I would see residential building erected through different phases that were aesthetically pleasing. This ignited my desire and passion toward this field.

Being a student that aimed to be the best constantly from primary, intermediate to high school I set miniature goals that would better myself each year. At Primary school I got dux, in intermediate I got dux, in high school I didn’t get dux but I became a prefect and got awarded the 2015 recipient for the keystone trust study award. Receiving that award was probably more rewarding than a dux award in my eyes. From the day I attended our first Keystone workshop and was introduced to the staff and other students I knew It was the start of cementing my foundation in the industry for my future. Although the financial support was very helpful, the keystone trust scholarship has offered meaningful and engaging events. This enabled me to have a head start in front of my peers at university.  The site visits exposed me to seeing projects up close during different phases which allowed me to make clearer understanding of textbook knowledge. The Networking events like the quiz night helped me connect with other professionals, really helping me understand that even outside of work the industry is still competitive. Keystone has been a supporting companion throughout my journey in architecture. Keystone has gatewayed internships with ignite that exposed me to collaborating in bigger groups. Not only has keystone provided these opportunities for me to be ahead in the game they have gone the extra mile to help me carry out my goal of being future architect.

Today I stand before you as a student carrying out his final year of Masters of Architecture and to be frank I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for keystone constant check ups and encouragement during the hard times ive been through. Through Covid-19 I know a lot of us students were affected during our studies. I would have times were I doubted myself and found myself not equipped with proper resources to carry out my thesis. Through the keystone trust I was donated an awesome laptop from ignite that could handle having my adobe and revit programs, so I am able to continue my thesis at home during these past lockdowns. I would like to take this time again to thank the keystone board and staff for the ongoing support, in resources, time and encouragement. To our keystone partners and sponsors I know that keystone trust wouldnt be able to continue to support us students without your support so thank you.

To the fresh students that have recently joined the keystone trust family I applaud you for your decision to apply for this scholarship. You will, as have I, encounter many opportunities. My advice to you is take it .. Try It out.. and make the most of it..
Don’t take these networking events for granted as you probably wont be able to talk and converse with owners , directors of leading firms and companies in the construction industry anywhere else.

Before I wrap up I would like to leave you all with a quote that comes to mind when thinking of the keystone trust. It was said by the famous Steve Jobs:

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” –

Thank you once again keystone family for equipping me these tools thus far. I hope to be able to pass these tools onto our next generation who will continue to do wonderful things.

Malo auptio 


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