Pathways to Transition

Pūhoro Student Internships: Growing Capability for Future Land and Water Scientists

Our Land and Water is proud to sponsor the new summer internship programme developed for Pūhoro STEM Academy university students. We encourage all our partners and industry stakeholders to look for internship opportunities within your land and water science research.

Puhoro students with interning organisations

Pūhoro STEM Academy university students are heading into the workplace as summer interns, with sponsorship from the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge.

Nine Pūhoro students who last month completed their first year of university will spend 10 weeks as summer interns with organisations including Fonterra, Plant and Food Research, and NZ Algae Innovations. Five Year 13 students are also heading into the workplace for four weeks of work experience with AgResearch, Fonterra and Plant and Food Research, before they transition to university next year.

Pūhoro is currently looking for more internships opportunities for students. Our Land and Water encourages our partners and industry stakeholders to consider whether there may be internship opportunities within your land and water science research.

Our Land and Water governance group chair Hōne McGregor says: “Pūhoro enables rangatahi Māori to meaningfully engage in science and explore their current and future contribution to the science community, with Māori-led research, as Māori scientists equipped with a Māori world view.”

Our Land and Water encourages our partners and industry stakeholders to consider whether there may be internship opportunities within your land and water science research.

Pūhoro STEM Academy director Naomi Manu, of Massey University, says the internship programme is a significant event for Pūhoro as it strengthens the long-term skills pipeline from secondary schools into tertiary education, then the workforce.

“This programme enables students to discover their passions and to work in new and exciting STEM environments whilst being mentored by people who are committed to building Māori capability in STEM. These are made possible by the generous support of Our Land and Water.” The Pūhoro STEM Academy and Massey University are match-funding these internships.

Pūhoro students Shahanna Tahere and Georgia Patching will work with scientists from Plant and Food Research and Ngā Uru o te Ngahere to explore the effects of mamaku (fern root) in rewana bread to test the effects on starch digestion in vitro relevant to diabetes.

“I am majoring in human nutrition so this internship is right up my alley,” says Georgia. “What’s more exciting is that this project also sees us explore the interface between mātauranga Māori and the use of mamaku as a rongoā Māori and the western application of science.”

Our Land and Water is very proud to be a long-term sponsor of the Pūhoro STEM Academy, which has gone from strength to strength in its four years of operation:

  • In 2018, the pass rate for Pūhoro secondary school students was 95% in Year 11, 99% in Year 12, and 98% in Year 13.
  • 87% of Year 13 Pūhoro students enrolled in university at degree level in 2019 (67% in STEM majors, 22% in social science and 11% in business majors).
  • Of the Pūhoro students who have transitioned to university, 66% were not on that academic pathway before beginning the Pūhoro programme in Year 11.
  • There are now Pūhoro students at every New Zealand university except Lincoln University.
  • Of the 42 Pūhoro students enrolled at Massey University, the pass rate for first semester courses was 92%.


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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)

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