Profiling Pacific success
This page showcases Pacific people achieving excellence and growing the pool of Pacific potential in Aotearoa.
Wiilberforce Tupua - a Tupa Tai 2017 intern
Wilberforce Tupua joined our International Strategy team.
This summer I was given an incredible opportunity, as part of the Tupu Tai programme, to work as a Policy Intern with the International Strategy team. The Tupu Tai programme provides internship opportunities to top Pasifika students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels to work in policy, procurement or project management across the public sector.
My name is Wilber Tupua. I am 23 years old and I recently moved from Auckland to Wellington. I was born and raised in Apia, Samoa, but I immigrated to New Zealand seven years ago. I am currently in my final semester of a LLB/BA(Hons) majoring in Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience of working with the International team. The content of the work is absolutely fascinating. Prior to this internship, I had a desire to practice law after university but this experience has shifted my career trajectory towards policy. I found it fulfilling to work in a space where, by virtue of your input, you can influence the direction of policy or legislation.
One particular highlight for my internship was having the opportunity to write a brief for Chief Executive Carolyn Tremain on impending EU-NZ free trade negotiations. Subsequently, I accompanied her to a meeting with the delegation from the EU and Carolyn invited me to contribute to the conversation. The experience was unimaginable for an intern, but this was only possible because I had the confidence of my manager, Katherine MacNeill, and the team that I can adequately complete the task.
We are approaching the end of our tenure and I can confidently speak on behalf of the other interns when I say that it has been a privilege to be part of the Tupu Tai programme.
Massey Isa’ako – Tupu Tek intern
Massey Tufulasi Isa’ako is a Tupu Tek 2017 intern who was placed with the team at SilverStripe.
SilverStripe intern Massey Tufulasi Isa'ako isn't afraid to fail. In fact, he believes it's the fastest way to learn in a new environment.
Being involved in the first cohort of Tupu Tek interns in conjunction with Summer of Tech, Massey secured a developer role with open source CMS (content management system) company SilverStripe. Tupu Tek is run in partnership with MBIE, and aims for greater diversity in the tech sector by creating opportunities for Pasifika students. Through mentorship and various projects, Massey has been given desirable experience as a developer, where he can put his learnings from studying at Yoobee School of Design into practice.
Prior to securing his internship, Massey attended core-skill 'bootcamps' with Summer of Tech, and strongly recommends the CV and interview bootcamps. "The CV bootcamp helped me to set up the interview; the interview bootcamp helped me land the internship". Professional skills are strongly desired by employers, and Massey made the most of the free workshops available for tertiary students.
During his time at SilverStripe, Massey's main aim has been to gain real, industry-credited experience with the goal of obtaining permanent work at the end of his internship. The environment has been supportive, with mentors and colleagues taking their time to clarify technical knowledge beyond Massey's current understanding. He believes the best quality he has developed is the willingness and speed to learn, which he describes as invaluable in any profession.
He believes progression within the tech industry as a developer is measured by how fast you fail, and how fast you are to learn. Whilst it sounds daunting, Massey's advice to future interns is not to be afraid to fail, as the learning experiences involved in failure are vital to a developers' growth. Massey's goal through Summer of Tech and Tupu Tek was to secure an internship, and to land permanent work once the internship ended. He believes more companies need to take a chance in hiring new talent, and that interns are an investment for organisations to reap the benefits from further down the line.
Pacific health professional in the making
James Penfold (left) a science, technology, engineering and mathematics scholar (STEM) and Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Award recipient spoke to us about his passion for science and gave us some words of advice for how to stay motivated.
Why study a STEM subject?
Science has always fascinated me – I have been interested in it ever since I was young. I am constantly thinking about how things work and how it all fits together. I thoroughly enjoy constantly learning. The dynamic educational environment is something I really enjoy and the fact that it’s such a diverse field makes it so rewarding because you are able to truly follow your dreams.
What keeps you motivated?
I’m constantly motivated by the thoughts of my future. I cannot wait to be a future Pacific health professional. I really want to be able to give back to the community and I’m only going to be able to do this if I apply myself and give everything 110%. I focus on the bigger picture and try not to get too caught up in the details because at the end of the day it’s about what I want to accomplish in the future.
What is success to you?
Success to me is regardless of the outcome, if I know that I’ve put my best foot forward, I count it as success. I do not measure it based on other people’s opinions or pre-conceptions. I define it because I feel as though that is the only way to truly succeed – it’s impossible to meet everyone’s expectations.
How did you become successful?
Through a lot of hard work and dedication I feel as though I was able to succeed. It has taken a long time and it wasn’t always easy. I struggled a lot, but in the end it all worked out. I tried my best and was always committed and everything is slowly starting to fall into place.
Do you have any advice for others wanting to follow in your footsteps?
I think that through a lot of hard work and passion great things are possible. If you apply yourself to your goal and do your best, regardless of the outcome I think everyone should be happy with their achievements. It’s hard to define success and I think that it’s important to understand that people who are successful have generally failed more than most people have tried.
Initiatives that are growing Pacific potential
Ara Skills and Employment hub
The Ara Skills and Employment hub connects employers at Auckland Airport with South Aucklanders looking for work and also helps to up-skill the current workforce at the airport. The hub has had some great successes placing people into jobs.
For more information about Ara check out their Facebook page(external link).
Tupu Tai Pasifika Public Sector Internships
The Tupu Tai Pasifika Internships are an inter-agency initiative involving 15 government agencies to help Pasifika students explore career pathways within the public sector.
Applicants can spend their summer internship at any of the 15 government agencies working in policy, procurement and project management areas.
The next internship round opens in 2019.