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Building a Brighter Future in STEM: Fonterra and Pūhoro Partner to Empower Māori Rangatahi

4 April 2024

Together, Fonterra and Pūhoro are committed to building a brighter future in STEM for rangatahi Māori.

In a significant move towards fostering diversity and inclusivity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, Fonterra, Aotearoa, New Zealand's largest dairy Co-operative, and Pūhoro, a national Charitable Trust dedicated to increasing Māori participation in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Mātauranga Māori), have joined forces in a new partnership.

This collaboration aims to significantly enhance Māori representation in STEM careers within Fonterra, building upon the successful ground work laid by the existing collaboration between Pūhoro and Palmerston North based, Fonterra Research and Development Centre (FRDC).

Since its establishment in 2016, Pūhoro has tirelessly worked with various partners to amplify Māori presence in STEM fields. This partnership with Fonterra perfectly aligns with its ongoing commitment to strengthen relationships with tangata whenua (people of the land) and honour the unique contribution of Te Ao Māori (the Māori worldview) in STEM. It underpins Fonterra's dedication to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion while nurturing a robust talent pipeline for the future.

"Fonterra is privileged to be partnering with Pūhoro to strengthen rangatahi Māori pathways into STEM careers and ensure we are growing more inclusive working environments" says Amy Young, Talent Manager at Fonterra.

Young emphasised Fonterra's aspiration for a workforce that mirrors the communities it serves and the invaluable enrichment that Māori perspectives bring to Fonterra. Through collaborative efforts, the aim is to significantly augment Māori representation across Fonterra's Early Careers pathways, including graduate programs and apprenticeships.

For young Māori individuals like Paris Cutler, this partnership opens doors to personal and professional growth within the dairy industry. Paris shared her internship experience, highlighting exposure to cutting-edge research, mentorship from industry experts, and the integration of mātauranga Māori into the workforce. Such opportunities not only bolster confidence but also lay a sturdy foundation for future career endeavours, instilling a sense of direction and purpose.

“These opportunities are fundamental in setting a strong foundation for my future career and personal aspirations, as they are a chance to learn, develop my skills and make connections that will shape my career path. This kaupapa has given me more confidence and direction and has shown me that by embracing my Māoritanga I can thrive in the STEM workforce.” She says.

Kemp Reweti, Manahautū Chief Executive of Pūhoro, expressed excitement about the partnership's potential to broaden STEM opportunities for Māori youth and pave the way into a fulfilling career.

“The partnership will enable Pūhoro to connect rangatahi to new pathways in STEM within one of the largest companies in Aotearoa.”

“Rangatahi will have the opportunity to gain exposure in to these diverse pathways from as early as Year 11, where Fonterra will deliver bespoke workshops as part of our termly wānanga series in high schools.”

“It’s important for us to work with organisations who value the unique world view, skills, and knowledge our rangatahi bring to STEM and we look forward to the development of this partnership in the years to come."

The partnership signifies a shared commitment to recognising and valuing the unique skills and perspectives that Māori youth bring to STEM disciplines.

Together, Fonterra and Pūhoro are committed to building a brighter future in STEM for rangatahi Māori.

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