Pathways to Transition

Pūhoro STEM Academy Summer Intern Hosting Opportunity (2021–22)

We encourage you to register your organisation's interest in hosting internships or work experience opportunities for Pūhoro STEM Academy students. These internships are hugely beneficial for both host and student.

Pō Whakanui Rangatahi 2021

Over the summer of 2020–2021, Pūhoro STEM Academy supported 47 work experience and STEM internships for Year 13 students and tertiary students, with the support of the Our Land and Water and High Value Nutrition National Science Challenges. The work experience and internships were a great success both for interns and for their host organisations (see testimonials, below).

In preparation for the 2021–2022 summer period, we invite expressions of interest to host internships or work experience opportunities for our tauira.

About Pūhoro STEM Academy

Pūhoro is a complete STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) pipeline that supports young Māori from secondary school through tertiary education and into employment. Pūhoro seeks to increase and improve Māori STEM engagement, leading to improved diversity and mātauranga Māori expertise across the STEM landscape.

Programmes like Pūhoro are critically important. We face more complex challenges than ever before, and the solutions are more than likely to require STEM expertise. Almost all future jobs will require some STEM knowledge. Māori are estimated to be 30% of the workforce by 2030, but currently represent less than 2% of the scientific workforce. It is more important than ever to ensure Māori have opportunities to develop STEM skills.

“[The Pūhoro interns] are a great bunch.  They bring energy and sparkle to our workplace.  They are learning together mutually and sharing their learnings across the workplace”

– Brent Clothier, Principal Scientist, Plant and Food Research

About the internship programme

We need to give young people authentic STEM experiences. Developing connections with STEM experts, like those within your team, will go a long way to unlocking the potential of young Māori to contribute their talents and unique world views to our country’s workforce.

We are looking for a range of opportunities in the following areas: food innovation / environmental sciences / agri science / land management / mātauranga Māori / computer science / agritech / economics / environmental psychology / science communication / social science.

We are hoping to collaborate with you to offer either work experience or internships, or both.


  • These internships are directed at students who have just completed their first, second or third year of tertiary study
  • 10–12 week duration (30–40 hours per week)
  • Mid-November 2021 to mid-February 2022

Work Experience

  • Introduction to science with close mentoring
  • This is directed at Year 13 students (high school) who have completed sciences through to NCEA Level 3
  • Four week duration (30–40 hours per week)
  • Mid-November 2021 and February 2022
  • Work experience or hands-on projects (assistance with sampling / lab work / shadowing researchers) without the expectation of carrying out independent research


To discuss this opportunity further, please email Dr Mahonri Owen (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Kaihautū Te Urunga Pae, Pūhoro STEM Academy). Please include:

  • Are you interested in offering an internship or work experience?
  • Please provide details on any specific project in mind and/or whether your research includes a te ao Māori component
  • Please include details of your organisation's focus and an indication of what degree-level courses align closely with your potential project
  • What types of activities might the Pūhoro intern undertake during their internship with you?
  • And of course, your name and organisation


“I've gained a better understanding of the lab processes involved in diagnosing diseases. I'm also learning more about antibiotic resistance and how the environment plays a role in the issue. It's made me think about my role as a doctor in the future and how I can help address this.”
– Ana Luxford, intern

“My internship involved attending meetings with iwi and the Palmerston North City Council to understand what ‘partnership’ looks like with freshwater quality in the Manawatū River. I was involved with monitoring and solving the stratification issues in the lower reservoir of the awa that provides two-thirds of Palmerston’s water supply. I have experienced hands-on learning and participated in events that I would not have at university.”
– Meschka Seifritz, intern

“[The Pūhoro interns] are a great bunch.  They bring energy and sparkle to our workplace.  They are learning together mutually and sharing their learnings across the workplace.  They are active participants in the social life of our site, and they are sharing their whakapapa and stories with all of us.”
– Brent Clothier, Principal Scientist, Plant and Food Research

More information


Annabel McAleer

Communications Manager, Our Land and Water. Text in this article is licensed for re-use under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


  • Hi, I have tried contacting Mahonri (email link on this page) as we are interested in hosting a Puhoro student. I recieved a bouncack from her email saying she no longer worked with you. Is the PuHoro internship progarmme still running, and if so, is there someone I could contact about this?

    • Kia ora Lesley, Mahonri’s email address has changed since this was posted! I’ll correct it in the post now.

  • Here’s a little bit of extra information and a timeline! FAQs:

    Does the project need to have a specific Te Aō Māori component?

    If I am working with a specific iwi, and I would like a Pūhoro student with whakapapa to that iwi – is that possible??
    Possibly. Record any iwi links or details in your host form, and Pūhoro will see what they can do. No promises though.

    Are these placements for Science projects only?
    No. If you have a potential placement in any of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths) areas – send it though 😊

    How are Pūhoro STEM students allocated?
    Once the opportunity is with Pūhoro, they will short-listed candidates for each project (usually 1 – 3 students), and then there will be a virtual meet and greets. Pūhoro kaihautū has been actively mentoring and monitoring their students development, and will be able to identify the best fit for the project… so your project short-list may be really short.

    Monday 13 September 2021 – Matching process begins
    Monday 20 September 2021 – Internship applications disbursed to students
    Monday 27 September 2021 – Virtual Introductions between students and host supervisor
    Monday 15 November 2021 – Whakatau and Te Tiriti and tikanga workshops
    Tuesday 16 November 2021 – Mātauranga and Science Workshops
    Wednesday 17 November 2021 – Official start of internships
    Friday 11th February 2022 – Pō Whakanui (end of Internship)


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