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Nāku te rourou, nāu te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi

The Prime Minister has asked the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor (PMCSA) to host two internships to undertake future-focused projects centred in Tairāwhiti, to support the ‘shared future’ kaupapa of the 2019 commemorations of the beginnings of the nation now known as Aotearoa New Zealand.

The internships will provide an opportunity to work on a knowledge-based project of passion, with mentoring and support from the OPMCSA and members of the Tairāwhiti community. The aim is to support the interns to apply their mātauranga and/or science knowledge for the benefit of the community, while providing the interns with the opportunity for personal and professional development.

Who can apply?

We are accepting applications from candidates proposing projects that meet the eligibility criteria (see below). There is flexibility on the level of experience of the candidate, to accommodate the circumstances of interested applicants.

Eligibility criteria

The projects must be one or more of the following:

  • Be Tairāwhiti-based
  • In partnership with a Tairāwhiti iwi
  • Be submitted by an intern candidate who can whakapapa to Tairāwhiti

Applications must be submitted by the intern candidate


Up to six months salary funding is available. The salary level will be determined by the experience of the successful candidate. Funding allows for a salary of up to $70,000 pa based on a fulltime equivalent. The internship will be offered at a rate appropriate for the skill and experience of the successful candidate.


The internships can be completed over six months full-time or over a longer time period on a part-time basis (with the overall time commitment being equivalent to six months full-time). Internships can start on or after 18 October 2021. They must have started within three months of accepting the internships.

Project theme areas

The following theme areas have been agreed in consultation between OPMCSA and members of the Tairāwhiti community:

  • Climate emergency: Te Ao Māori perspective on the climate emergency
  • Policy: Mātauranga to inform policy
  • Science curriculum: How to make the science curriculum more inclusive for Māori – students and teachers
  • Taonga: Re-connecting to taonga in museums in Aotearoa New Zealand and/or internationally
  • Te Papa: Working with Te Papa on a collaborative project. Rongowhakaata is the iwi in residence at Te Papa.

However, we are open to other theme areas, where they can be shown to fit with the Tairāwhiti Iwi priorities areas.

Selection criteria

There is no formal requirement for the level of minimum education, career stage or similar experience. The selection process will include the following criteria:

  • Partnership and connection to Tairāwhiti iwi
  • Personal fit of the intern candidate
  • Proposed project

The selection panel will include:

  • Two members representing the OPMCSA
  • Two members representing Tairāwhiti iwi

Application deadlines

Applications have now closed.

If you have any questions please check the FAQs below or email us

Frequently asked questions

Do applicants have to be from Tairāwhiti?

The applications must be one or more of the following:

  • Be for Tairāwhiti-based based project,
  • Be in partnership with a Tairāwhiti Iwi,
  • The applicant has whakapapa links Tairāwhiti and is based elsewhere in Aotearoa New Zealand.
What projects will be appropriate? Are applications restricted to the theme areas?

The projects are not restricted by discipline or to particular topics. The projects selected are likely to be aligned to the published themes. However, if you have a project you are passionate about please submit an Expression of Interest form.

Are the internships financially supported?

Yes. The intern will be employed by the OPMCSA. There may be an option of interns being seconded to the OPMCSA.

Is the funding available to support project costs?

The focus of an internships is the experience of working both the OPMCSA and members of the Tairāwhiti community work on a knowledge-based project. No budget is available to support project costs.

Are applications restricted to Māori candidates?

No. Any one can apply who meets the eligibility criteria.

Who will the interns be working with?

The successful candidates will be working with the OPMCSA at an agreed location to suit the project and the candidate. Other collaborators are encouraged, and these should be detailed in the application.

Does the candidate need to have a tertiary qualification to apply?

No. We are accepting applications from internship candidates proposing projects that meet the eligibility criteria. There is flexibility on the level of experience of the candidate, to accommodate the circumstances of interested applicants.