A key competency we encourage our interns to develop is the ability to network. The importance of promoting and improving this competency cannot be understated. We hope that in completing this programme TupuToa interns discover and develop an invaluable network of professionals who can enhance, promote, and accelerate their professional development and trajectory. As such, we host a TupuToa Mid-internship Networking Evening, in Auckland and in Wellington, and invite our corporate partners and intern cohort to attend.
This year we placed an exciting twist on events. Instead of having the standard keynote speakers, we turned the event into a debate involving both manager and intern participants. The moot or resolution was a question: Am I a Māori and/or Pasifika professional or a professional that is Māori and/or Pasifika? Consider the following descriptions on each position in the debate:
Team 1: I am a Māori and/or Pasifika professional. My Māori and/or Pasifika heritage is the leading influence in my professional life.
Team 2: I am a professional that is Māori and/or Pasifika. My Māori and/or Pasifika heritage is one factor in who I am as a professional.
It was interesting to observe that the winning Team and resolution differed from one networking evening to the next. In Auckland, Team 1 was successful, in Wellington it was Team 2. The arguments formed by managers and interns alike were impressive, well thought out, and moving.
We acknowledge that our interns walk in two worlds. They navigate a western and indigenous paradigm. Cultural intelligence is found where western and indigenous paradigms co-exist. They are hybrid natives and we selected this topic to encourage them to explore, gauge an understanding of, and challenge their existing paradigms about cultural and professional identity.
In addition to the debate, select partners, interns, and host representatives spoke. An enormous thank you to our host partners, AUT in Auckland and Z Energy in Wellington, for the use of your premise and the provision of refreshments. Without your backing these things are not possible.
Thank you also to our debate team participants, we commend you for taking on the challenge and opportunity for growth:
Auckland Team 1 WINNERS : Pagen Plaizier (partner, Xero), Tara Leota (intern, Air New Zealand), Jack Potaka (New Zealand Trade & Enterprise)
Auckland Team 2: Iani Nemani (partner, Diversity Works NZ), Asena Tolungamaka (intern, Air New Zealand), Awanuiārangi Morris (intern, BNZ)
Wellington Team 1: Robert Pa'o (partner, Corrections), Terimene Workman (intern, PwC), Perise Tagataese (intern, Accenture)
Wellington Team 2 WINNERS: Pouaka Parore (partner, EY), Nikki Brighouse (intern, Ministry of Education), Tomairangi McRae, NZTE
We look forward to our next engagement, TupuToa whanau!