Our partnership with TupuToa: Reflections from our interns

26 Mar 2017 Our People, Diversity and Inclusion, Partnerships

Air New Zealand is passionate about growing a diverse talent pipeline within its organisation, which is why we joined TupuToa - Māori & Pasifika Corporate Pathways Programme, a national internship programme for Māori and Pasifika graduates.

To successfully deliver on Air New Zealand’s promise to supercharge New Zealand’s success and its business strategy, it’s important that we represent the communities we operate in at all levels of the organisation.

This programme is not only a great platform for the interns, allowing them to develop their skills and expertise, but also provides us with the opportunity to identify, develop and retain high potential Māori and Pasifika graduates.

We have had the privilege of hosting three interns from the University of Auckland over 11 weeks under the programme. Working across our Procurement and People teams, our interns haven’t been the only ones to benefit from the experience, with those who managed the interns also learning a lot through their experience in leading the next generation of Air New Zealanders.

Let’s hear from the interns themselves and the journey they have been on within Air New Zealand:


Jacinta is a Commerce student who has gained a deeper understanding of the role culture plays 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. 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, who will also be great for networking and collaborating with in the future,” says Jacinta.

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


Seraphine is currently involved in the Master of Science programme within the Department of Psychology where she is specialising in Industrial, Work and Organisational Psychology, with a focus on Pasifika transgender rights in employment. Her internship with Air New Zealand has provided her with insight into the type of work she would like to do post-graduation and has made her realise that her future rests firmly in her own hands.

Her highlights included meeting Prime Minister Bill English at the TupuToa gala dinner and the airline’s Chief People Officer Jodie King. “It was nice to talk to her as a person and not as the Chief People Officer, and great to get positive feedback, she lit up my day”, says Seraphine.

“The programme has been a great experience where I have contributed to valuable projects. It’s also a great platform for Air New Zealand to test talent too.”


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 and securing a further placement within Procurement whilst she completes her studies.

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

While the internship programme has concluded, all three TupuToa interns are continuing to work part time at Air New Zealand while completing their studies, demonstrating the opportunities that can arise through the internship programme, and the benefits of building good business relationships and networks.

Both TupuToa and Air New Zealand look forward to seeing the careers of Olivia, Jacinta and Seraphine blossom over the coming years, and continuing to support and provide opportunities to young Māori and Pasifika talent.

Learn more about career pathways at Air New Zealand.

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