Summer interns bring fresh perspectives to the table

With a longstanding interest in politics and government, Nova Te Hapua Waretini-Hewson was a smart fit for our 2024 internship programme.

Published: Wednesday, 28 February 2024 | Rāapa, 28 Huitanguru, 2024

Ko Nova Te Hāpua Waretini-Hewison tōku ingoa,
He uri tēnei nō Ngāti Rangi, Te Ātihaunui a Papārangi, me Rongomai Wahine hoki.
I tipu ake au kei Pōneke, heoi, e noho ana au ki Kirikiriroa.

With a longstanding interest in politics and government, Nova Te Hapua Waretini-Hewison was a smart fit for our 2024 internship programme.

Nova, alongside 20 other interns, spent three months during Summer 2023 at Te Puni Kōkiri – bringing fresh perspectives to the table while gaining knowledge and valuable work experience along the way.

This year, Nova will be a fourth-year student at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato completing a Masters in Māori and Indigenous Studies. Her academic studies, combined with an unwavering commitment to advocating for iwi Māori, led her to Te Puni Kōkiri.

“There’s been no better place to learn the foundational aspects of government than at an agency dedicated to uplifting Māori values, people, and tikanga,” Nova said.

Nova’s mahi focussed on supporting initiatives that enhanced the hauora of Māori communities. She worked within our Investments Directorate, supporting the tangata team.

This involved engaging with communities to assess the impact of our mahi, reviewing and drafting memos to the investments committee, and creating case studies and reports of significant projects.

Despite some initial apprehension and feeling like she was “jumping straight into the deep end”, Nova found herself part of a great team.

“I felt really supported by my colleagues who were all eager to support my growth. I always felt that my perspectives and passions were valued.”

When asked what learnings she’ll take away from her experience, Nova said:
“I’ve got a bunch of new tools in my kete that will enable me to promote Māori practices in spaces that don’t inherently seem like a Māori environment. Bringing tikanga and culture into every venture I take on, I’ve now seen it’s possible.

“I have enjoyed meeting like-minded rangatahi who all have a fiery passion for Māori excellence and building on these connections.

“E te iwi o Ngāti Āpōpō! You may have to take a deeper look into how to separate your ‘you’ pōtae and your ‘mahi’ pōtae, but most importantly, you are here to develop your skills for not only employment but yourself, have fun with it! Make friends!”