Pathways to Transition

Summer Intern Hosting Opportunity, with the Pūhoro STEM Academy

We encourage you to register your interest in hosting a summer internship or providing work experience for students of the Pūhoro STEM Academy. Programmes like Pūhoro are critically important to ensuring Aotearoa's future transformation is guided by unique Māori world views and knowledge

Puhoro STEM Academy students

Over the summer of 2019–2020, Pūhoro STEM Academy supported 14 work experience and STEM internships for Year 13 students and first-year tertiary students, with the support of the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge. The work experience and internships were a great success both for interns and for their host organisations (see testimonials, below).

In preparation for the 2020–2021 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 for young Māori that supports engagement 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.

“Integrating our water quality research to include opportunities for Pūhoro interns is a natural fit and provides a valuable te ao Māori learning experience for everyone, whether they are students or teachers.” – Adrian Cookson, Senior Scientist Food and Bio-based Products, AgResearch

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.

Work Experience

  • This is directed at Year 13 students who have completed sciences through to NCEA Level 3
  • Four week duration (30–40 hours per week)
  • Between early January and mid-February
  • Hands-on projects (assistance with sampling / lab work / shadowing researchers)
  • Manawatū or South Auckland based (as students will still be living at home and are mostly Manawatū and South Auckland residents)


  • These internships are directed at students who have just completed either their first or second year of tertiary study
  • 10–12 week duration (30–40 hours per week)
  • Mid-November to mid-February
  • Can be located anywhere nationwide
  • Can be research-based or applied STEM practice in the workplace


To discuss this opportunity further, please email Dr Mahonri Owen (Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Kaihautū Te Urunga Pae, Pūhoro STEM Academy) or phone 021 198 3017.

We hope to be able to confirm all summer internships by 17 July 2020.


“Engaging with Pūhoro STEM Academy has been an incredibly positive experience and the summer internship was very valuable to our small company. Our intern, Raythe, quickly took up the challenge and learned to master new skills in the laboratory. She was then able to use these skills and knowledge to conduct important experiments and define a protocol for spirulina culture maintenance that we later adopted as our new standard. We were very impressed with Raythe’s work ethic that we continued to employ her to maintain our live culture after the internship formally ended. The opportunity to work with Pūhoro STEM Academy to empower and connect with our community is something we hope to continue into the future.”
– Benoit Guieysse, Technical Director New Zealand Algae Innovations (Tahi Spirulina)

“I was fortunate to work at an internship with Algae Innovations focusing primarily on uses of spirulina. I attempted to use sub-products of spirulina to act as fertilisers of plants and also designed a protocol to grow spirulina at its optimal condition. Learning these new skills showed me the working standard in science research, but I also learned to understand that failure in science is inevitable, but the success that comes from it is worth the effort.”
– Raythe Tanoa-Pūrei, intern (Ngāti Porou)

“My internship focused on finding the health benefits of the mamaku fern. It was an exciting opportunity and taught me the importance of the effects that mamaku has on carbohydrate digestion. This internship helped me understand more about the bridging of mātauranga Māori and Western science and helped me understand how our tūpuna used natural rongoa in their time.”
– Georgia Patching, intern (Ngāti Mahanga, Ngāi Tai, Ngāti Kauwhata and Ngāti Kahungunu)

“Integrating our water quality research to include opportunities for Pūhoro interns is a natural fit and provides a valuable te ao Māori learning experience for everyone, whether they are students or teachers.”
– Adrian Cookson, Senior Scientist Food and Bio-based Products, AgResearch


More information


Mahonri Owen

Kaihautū Te Urunga Pae, Pūhoro STEM Academy

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