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Founding Pūhoro Students Come Full Circle

3 October 2022

Six years on from its formation Pūhoro is now beginning to see the full circle effects of our kaupapa. In 2022 we welcomed back two of our founding Pūhoro students as full time kaimahi, Annaleise Faint and Mosiah Igatia. We caught up with them to hear about their time with Pūhoro so far.

Six years on from its formation Pūhoro is now beginning to see the full circle effects of our kaupapa. In 2022 we welcomed back two of our founding Pūhoro students as full time kaimahi. Annaleise Faint and Mosiah Igatia have joined Pūhoro as Kaihautū in Ōtautahi and Manawatū respectively. The role of Kaihautū is to work directly with high school tauira to support them on their STEM journey by removing barriers and creating opportunities for Māori to engage in STEM. This mahi is a natural fit for Annaleise and Mosiah who have the same first-hand experience as our tauira.

We caught up with them to hear about their time with Pūhoro so far.

What encouraged you to come back to Pūhoro?

Annaleise: I have been fortunate to experience firsthand the amazing impact that Pūhoro has on rangatahi. Pūhoro opened the door to Te Ao Māori for me and exposed me to a vast amount of STEM opportunities. When I received the opportunity to work for Pūhoro I was more than keen to accept, to not only give back to the kaupapa but to also support other rangatahi in their own journeys and hopefully do for them what Pūhoro has done for me.

Mosiah: I had awesome experiences with Pūhoro as a highschool student. I always felt supported and cared for. I became good friends with many tauira from other schools, and with many of the Pūhoro team. The great relationship that I have with the kaimahi of Pūhoro made it an easy decision to return. I had no hesitation in accepting the invitation to be a Kaihautū.

Reflecting on your experience as a founding Pūhoro tauira how does this help you in your mahi now?

Annaleise: It’s allowed me to truly understand the impact that Pūhoro can have on our tauira and has shaped how I go about my mahi. It also allows me to better understand our tauira as I was once in their shoes.

Mosiah: I understand better now the importance of building quality relationships with the right kind of people. The people that I met as a student of the program were so great at supporting me, in schoolwork and in understanding my identity. It’s an honor for me to play that role for our Pūhoro rangatahi now. Quality relationships take quality time, and Pūhoro took that time for me. So, I treasure taking time to serve our rangatahi.

What is the highlight of your mahi as a Kaihautū?

Annaleise: For sure our tauira. We are fortunate enough to be in a position where we experience the small and big wins with our tauira and watching them grow and achieve their goals is genuinely inspiring.

Mosiah: Without doubt, my highlight is our young people. They are bright, they are full of potential, but many of them are at risk. I am lifted when I see our Pūhoro rangatahi believing in themselves and achieving their ambitions and when I see them choosing to stretch themselves, to grow and achieve.

What advice do you have for tauira Māori on their transition into the workforce?

Annaleise: You can accomplish anything you put your mind to. You are an accumulation of your whakapapa, and your whakapapa is evidence that you come from greatness. There are going to be times when you must make tough calls. But that's okay, if you know it's the right path, have the confidence to take it. And if you want to do something and the opportunity isn't there, create the opportunity. Ask around for help. You are part of the Pūhoro whānau that wants to see you succeed. So, remember, whenever you need support, you have hundreds of people backing you.

Mosiah: Transitioning into the workforce is not always easy at first. But take courage. You are much stronger than you think. Be punctual. Be present. Be respectful. Work hard, rest well. Be reliable. Be a friend. When work becomes difficult, be patient. Be trustworthy. If you have none of those values yet, decide now how you will develop at least one of them, and the other values will follow. You come from a noble heritage, so represent it well.

What are your aspirations for tauira Māori walking alongside Pūhoro?

Annaleise: To be proud and firm in their Māoritanga and their abilities as scientists. I hope that they achieve their aspirations and inspire future generations.

Mosiah: The people of Pūhoro are here to help you! Please, ask us and others for help. When something is missing, when there is something that you do not understand, we will help.

You do not have to know everything about the future to move forward. You have been given sufficient tools, knowledge, skills, and experience to move forward. And you are never alone.

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