The Annual Gala Dinner was an immense success. With over 350 in attendance, it was a memorable night for the purpose of celebrating the outstanding achievements of our 74 interns and the tremendous efforts of their whānau and our partners.
The welcome was announced by Hātea Kapahaka group and Ngāti Whātua. Their rendition of Māori waiata and kapahaka was felt across the floor. TupuToa board Co-chairs Rangimarie Hunia and Leopino Foliaki then spoke to welcome guests and express thanks on behalf of the board.
Michelle Hippolite, CE for Te Puni Kōkiri, along with Marc England CE for Genesis Energy, were this years guest speakers. Both CEs shared pearls of wisdom for our interns to add to their kete of knowledge. In addition, guests were privileged to hear personal reflections from a selection of this years TupuToa interns. The six interns spoke, sharing excerpts of their experiences as interns as well as a little of themselves. This aspect of the Gala Dinner demonstrated the personal growth, development and impact the internship programme enables. Corporate partners, whanau and community stood and applauded in awe of the interns that shared.
Air New Zealand intern, Gabrielle Pukepuke, spoke about how she was moved to begin a voluntary mentoring programme for Māori and Pasifika students at Epsom Girls Grammar School as a result of her internship. She encouraged everyone to allow the effect of their successes to ripple – to pay it forward.
The interns concluded the evening with a special waiata they composed in collaboration with Joby Hopa from Hatea Kapahaka. The TupuToa Waiata was presented by the interns to ALL as a song of thanks. This was their parting gift to the programme as well as to future TupuToa cohorts. They sung ‘Together we stand a united force; Collectively as one we can do it all’.
We want to thank all who were in attendance, particularly the interns who have now concluded their internships and whose journey we gathered to celebrate. The wider TupuToa community is an integral part of our organization and cause for what we do; thank you for being with us.
Event photographer: Whitedoor Photography