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Pasifika intern programme wins diversity award

An internship programme designed to “grow the tide” of Pacific peoples influencing the public sector policies that affect all New Zealanders has won the country’s top workplace diversity award.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) took out the Supreme Award at the 2020 Diversity Awards NZ™ for its flagship Tupu Tai intern initiative that is increasing the confidence and capability of young Pacific people and allowing a new generation to play a key role in impacting public policy.

Delivered across 21 public sector agencies, Tupu Tai offers a paid 11-week summer internship to Pasifika tertiary students and recent graduates interested in a policy career in the public sector. It was established in 2015 when, despite making up eight per cent of the total public sector workforce, Pacific peoples were significantly under-represented in public policy roles, making up just one per cent of the total policy workforce.

By 2019, Pasifika representation in public sector policy roles had increased to 8.2 per cent. A quarter of the 100 active Tupu Tai alumni are now working fulltime in public sector policy roles.

Judging convener Kirstin Te Wao says MBIE’s internship programme is a powerful vehicle for change.

“Culturally grounded, connected to the arts and supported by leadership, this is an operating model that has real, sustainable potential to break down silos right across government. As well as providing opportunities for the interns, many of whom shared amazing stories, it’s amplifying Pacific voices and creating tūākana (mentor) roles for many Pasifika peoples in the public sector.”

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment initiative also won the Tomorrow’s Workforce category at the 2020 Diversity Award NZ™, which celebrate excellence in workplace diversity and inclusion.


For more information, entrant case studies, or high-res photos, please contact:

Sheryl Blythen
Communications Manager
Diversity Works New Zealand
+64 21 674 443