Interns Fly High at Air New Zealand

L to R: Jacinta Taliauli, Olivia Coleman and Seraphine Williams.

Air New Zealand is passionate about growing a diverse talent pipeline within the organisation, and supporting TupuToa is one way to make this happen.

The airline is part of the inaugural TupuToa internship programme, and is currently hosting three interns from the University of Auckland, Seraphine Williams, Jacinta Taliauli and Olivia Coleman.

Air New Zealand Diversity and Inclusion Manager Charlotte Downes says the airline wanted to partner with an organisation, based on a proven international model.

TupuToa is modelled closely to the not for profit organisation CareerTrackers, which creates internship opportunities for 500 Indigenous university students currently.

“TupuToa provides us with best practice guidance, and support to identify, develop and retain high potential Māori and Pasifika graduates to ensure we are growing a diverse talent pipeline within Air New Zealand,” Charlotte says.

To successfully deliver on Air New Zealand’s promise to super-charge NZ’s success and its organisational strategy, the airline realises it needs to represent the communities it operates in, at all levels of the organisation, she adds.

“One of our key strategic areas for diversity and inclusion is to grow diverse talent pools and our partnership with TupuToa is one of the ways we can seek to achieve this.”

Meanwhile, all three interns have thoroughly enjoyed their time at Air New Zealand and highly recommend the internship to their peers, due to the networking and development opportunities, as well as the chance to connect more to ones’ culture.

Olivia is a fourth year Commerce student, who says her internship highlights include having a one-on-one meeting with Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon.

“Many of the skills we have learnt are transferrable into other roles, and the networks we have been able to tap in to are very successful, and we have made a lot of contacts,” Olivia says.

Seraphine is currently involved in the Master of Science programme, which is within the Department of Psychology at UofA, specialising in Industrial, Work and Organisational (IWO) Psychology, with a focus on Pasifika transgender rights in employment.

For Seraphine, working with Air New Zealand’s Māori and Pasifika Manu Network has been hugely influential, as has leading and contributing to projects in human resources which have had organisation wide significance.

The internship has provided her with insight into the type of work she would like to do post-graduation, she says.

“I have met a few IWO Psychologists with passions in recruitment, performance management, organisational development and effectiveness, and personally, I have found I am passionate about Diversity and Inclusion and will hopefully work to increase these things within corporate New Zealand.”

The greatest thing Seraphine will take away from her time with Air New Zealand, is she now realises her future is in her own hands.

“I have been advised by many people I make my own opportunities through the networks I create, and I make value of these opportunities by being authentic to my purpose.”

Commerce student Jacinta says her involvement alongside the Manu Network has helped her to understand culture’s place in the corporate environment and what communities should be doing to encourage more Māori and Pasifika into corporate roles.

“This internship has allowed me to explore and become more grounded in my culture,” Jacinta says.

“I have been able to explore whether procurement is a profession I would like to pursue in the future, while meeting young Māori and Pasifika professionals now will also be great for networking and collaboration efforts in the future,” she adds.

Jacinta has attended workshops as part of the internship, which challenge her “institutionalised” way of thinking, and it has encouraged her to bring her full self to work.

“I would recommend this internship to students who are strongly connected or have a desire to connect more to their culture,” she says.

“Business is moving towards a more collective, collaborative way of working and with strong values such as Whanaugatanga and Kaitiakitanga ingrained in who we are, we are able to offer so much value to corporates.”

All three TupuToa interns are continuing to work part time at Air New Zealand whilst completing their studies, which demonstrates the opportunities that can arise through the summer internship programme, and the benefits of building good business relationships and networks.

TupuToa looks forward to seeing the careers of Olivia, Jacinta and Seraphine blossom over the coming years, and to continue to grow the innovative team at Air New Zealand to continue to provide opportunities to Māori & Pasifika young people.

For any queries regarding Air New Zealand's Diversity & Inclusion strategy contact Charlotte.

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