Lua Siasau (Class of 2009), Manager, Panthera Finance, Brisbane
Any student who walked through the gates of Liston College will always remember their first day. I remember being a small and timid boy from Henderson Primary School, feeling as though I’d landed on a different planet. Everything felt foreign to me, especially wearing a school uniform every day. This was something I was not accustomed to. Luckily, I made friends who shared the same interests with me which made initial days easier. As time went on, I slowly became more comfortable in the school uniform and with my teachers. I remember one of my earliest teachers, Mr Forster, was a nurturing and upright man.
Mr Forster was someone I looked up to as he taught us many things and made our lessons exciting and memorable. One of my favourite lessons of his was how a young man ought to be today. Being taught this at a young age would play an important role in shaping the man I was to later become. He taught me how to stand firm in my faith and to treat others how I would wish to be treated in return. By abiding by this, throughout the years I have strived to live out the school motto as best as I can. Having good teachers who cared about my education and surrounded by friends I was able to call brothers in Christ, was such an important part of my experience at Liston.
This brings me to another teacher whom I am thankful for, who also who enticed my hunger for knowledge. A man whom I deeply admired for his vast knowledge in Catholicism, The Classical World and The Art of Oratory; this would be the amazing Mr O’Rourke. Sitting in Mr. O’Rourke’s classes I came to appreciate the beauty of Catholicism through its early beginnings, to the richness of its theology, admiring our sacred liturgy and how a divine institution created by Christ himself had survived over the near 2000 years of existence. I also grew fond of the exciting adventures of Aeneas written by the Roman poet Virgil and its help in birthing the mighty Roman Empire.
I also learnt about Ancient Greek Vases and how each one narrated a time in history, only using drawings with little or no text, and how one could use oratory to its maximum potential. It was from these Greek artifacts that my love for symbolism grew. Mr. O’Rourke’s gift for public speaking also inspired me to join in his Scriptural Reading Team for the Regional competition held by the Archdiocese of Auckland. It was with his guidance in public speaking that I was one of the top 3 students in Auckland for Scriptural Reading in 2009. Something I would later use in nearly all areas of my future studies, work, and everyday interactions. For this I am forever indebted to him for sharing his knowledge.
The next teacher who made my experience in Liston College a blessing would be a surprise to some as he is sometimes synonymous with the word detention: Mr. Hardy. Yes, Mr. Hardy was in fact a blessing to me. I can truthfully say that at first, I feared him because word got around that he gave the harshest detentions and just hearing him speak was frightening enough. Yet after a few days of joining his class, I slowly found myself enjoying his history lessons, during which we learnt about World War I & II, the significance of Nazism and The Cold War. Through Mr Hardy’s classes I learnt how to conduct research, how to formulate and articulate answers to a question, and why learning from tragic history itself is important to avoid repeating it. I remember he reminded us that if we chose to fool around in school, we would not answer to him but to our hard-working parents. This stuck in my head for a very long time and drove me to excel because I didn’t want to waste his time nor my parents’ hard work. It was this little speech he gave really hit home for me and luckily enough has stayed with me to this day.
Thankfully with the support of these good teachers and hard work, I successfully passed all NCEA Levels 1, 2, 3 and gained University Entrance. I was ecstatic as I remembered my first day in 2003 walking through the gates of Liston College as a small and timid boy. Soon I would leave through those same gates as a young man armed with knowledge and clothed with an unshakeable faith.
After leaving Liston College in 2009 I pursued tertiary studies at Yoobee Colleges in Auckland City. After 2 years of study, I fortunately gained 2 Diplomas in Animation and Digital Video Production, both of which came in handy later. In February 2012 I moved to Brisbane, Australia, and after having studied for several years decided it was a perfect time to take a hiatus from study to explore Australia and its vibrant culture. I managed to pick up a casual job working at Subway which paid good money and was a good workout as I was constantly on my feet. After nearly one year of working at Subway, however, I felt the urge to continue my studies in digital media.
In July 2013, I enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in Creative Media at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ). During my time studying here, I met some great lecturers and students who I have come to call mates. I also had the once in a lifetime opportunity through USQ to work at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Thankfully I was chosen to work as part of the Headquarters Support Personnel, was housed in the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach. My duties included driving around VIP’s, delivering equipment and helping set up venues and their media compounds. In the 4 weeks I worked at the Gold Coast, I got to meet international media personnel, athletes and the talented people who worked behind the scenes who made everything possible. Working at The Commonwealth Games was truly a once in a lifetime event as I got witness history made here in Australia, the country I now call home. In August 2021 life got much sweeter as I finally graduated with my degree from USQ - a total of nearly 8 years had finally come to an end. Currently I am a full-time Manager in a private recoveries company in the Banking and Finance sector, am happily married to my best friend Dianne and raising 2 beautiful children who I adore.
Even having left Liston College 13 years ago, the Liston College motto, In Christ We Live, is still very close to me. During many trials I would always remember that Christ took up His own cross because He loved us. As I have grown older, I’ve become more interested in building a stronger relationship with Christ. One of his attributes that really captivated me was His love for the marginalized, sick and the poor, an issue which is still prevalent today, especially in The Holy Lands where so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are being persecuted and have little to no access to needs. Because Christ loved these people so much, I wanted to use my resources and lend a helping hand.
In September 2021, I was granted a knighthood into The Equestrian Order of The Holy Sepulchre. Our work mainly provides essentials to Christians in The Holy Land. We deliver food coupons, conduct electric meter refills, provide free medicine, subsidize unpaid education fees, keep families afloat, and pay the salaries of at least 2000 staff in The Holy Lands. We also fund the restoration of ancient buildings and sites and most importantly, the upkeep of the Burial site of Jesus Christ which is visited by pilgrims from all over the world. As a Listonian, I truly believe it’s every Catholic’s duty to never forget our brothers and sisters who have been marginalized, who are sick and who are impoverished.
Without Liston College, I would not be the man I am today. In Christ We Live!
Lua Siasau (Class of 2009), Brisbane