“We got settled into our internship really well because we were able to be a part of the cultural collaboration course. It also gave us an opportunity to meet people in other teams that we probably wouldn’t have connected with outside of the course."
Keeping an open-mind was key to get most out of the opportunity for Emma and Tikardan who have just wrapped up an internship with Horizon’s Regional Council.
Emma, a Bachelor of Health Sciences student joined the science team working on a project to monitoring water quality across the Manawatū-Whanganui Region.
“Before this experience, I wouldn’t have considered myself an outdoors person but the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone has changed this.”
Fieldwork was a big part of Emma’s project which meant she often found herself knee-deep in waterways collecting samples.
“To be able to get in the water safely, I had to take part in a swift water crossing training course. This was daunting at first but looking back it has been one of the highlights of my time here.”
Tikardan, a Bachelor of Resource and Environmental Planning student spent her time on the Tōtara Reserve Regional Park Rongoā enhancement and protection project. Working with local iwi Rangitanē o Manawatū, Tikardan conducted interviews and collected information about local tikanaga and guidelines to compile into a report.
“The experience has challenged me to shift between academic and business writing. The reports we write here are very different to writing for academic purposes,” she said.
“One of the highlights for me was having so many opportunities to get out of the office and to connect with the community and local iwi.”
Both Tikardan and Emma have relished the opportunity to grow their own networks and to learn about their colleagues unique career journeys.
“We got settled into our internship really well because we were able to be a part of the cultural collaboration course. It was cool to see an internal commitment to Te Ao Māori that was also wrapped into their values.”
“It also gave us an opportunity to meet people in other teams that we probably wouldn’t have connected with outside of the course,” said Tikardan.
“There are people here that have the same degree that I have so it’s really interesting to see where they’ve ended up,” said Emma.
For supervisors Maree Patterson - Senior Environmental Scientist Water Quality and Oriana Paewai - Senior Advisor Iwi and Hapū Relationships, it was important to create a safe space where Emma and Tikardan felt like they could ask questions and share their knowledge.
“We didn’t want this to feel like a stressful experience for them, we wanted to create a safe space where they were comfortable to ask questions, or ask for help when things felt like too much,” said Oriana.
“They’ve brought a fresh perspective and challenged us to look at things in a new way,” she said.
Maree shared a similar sentiment. “It’s so refreshing having young people in the workspace. If you’ve got the capacity and capability to bring a Pūhoro intern into your organisation there is so much you can learn from them,” she said.