Te Piko o te Māhuri

Te piko o te māhuri tērā te tipu o te rakau – NIWA’s commitment to building Māori research capability and capacity

Te Piko o te Māhuri is a development initiative that provides pathways and opportunities for young Māori researchers across NIWA’s climate, freshwater and oceans platforms. Each journey is customised to support aspiring researchers in reaching their full potential in the environmental research sector.

Te piko o te māhuri, tērā te tipu o te rākau. The way in which the young sapling is nurtured (bent), determines how the tree will grow.
This whakatauki speaks to the nurturing of a tipu or new shoot to allow it to grow into its full potential. In the same way, Te Kūwaha provides several opportunities to nurture and grow new Māori research talent at NIWA, and across the science sector.

Te Piko o te Māhuri recognises that NIWA may come across new Māori research talent at different stages of their career, and that each individual’s growth needs will vary.

Te Piko o te Māhuri responds to these individual needs by providing a range of mechanisms for growth, including supporting Māori school leavers who are engaged in science at a tertiary level to advance towards fulltime employment as a researcher.

This initiative is not intended to be a standardised progression, rather each individual can have the best fit pathway for their needs.  

Programme pathways may include one or more of the following:

Te Kūwaha Graduate Internship Programme

The Te Kūwaha Graduate Internship Programme was established in 2019. The purpose of the programme is to encourage Māori science graduates to consider ongoing postgraduate studies and Māori-centred environmental research as a career pathway.

Our graduate internship programme provides recent Māori science graduates (BSc or MSc) with an opportunity to learn and engage in delivering Māori environmental research. The successful applicants will have the opportunity to engage, conduct research, and operate at the interface between science and Te Ao Māori by working across a wide range of active research projects within NIWA.

Find out more about NIWA's Te Kūwaha Graduate Programme.

Post graduate studies 

NIWA currently offers postgraduate opportunities to students within our MBIE research programmes, National Science Challenge projects and collaborations with various universities. However, Te Kūwaha has found that the timing of the funding and research topics don’t always align with the availability and needs of targeted individuals who are ready to take the next step. This has proven to be a significant barrier for progressing Māori science undergraduates into postgraduate studies.

There is also recognition within the universities and nationally that there is a need to create stronger and more visible pathways to support the transition of undergraduate Māori science students into postgraduate (MSc, PhD) opportunities and therefore into career pathways beyond study.

NIWA through Te Piko o te Māhuri provides guaranteed support for a minimum of 3 postgraduate students annually

Summer internships

Several universities provide Summer Research internships via their scholarship offices. These university-driven programmes provide promising undergraduate, honours and first-year master’s degree students with the opportunity to experience research. These annual internships are typically ten-weeks in duration, full-time, between November – February.

NIWA through Te Piko o te Māhuri hosts 3 Māori summer interns, for a ten-week period over the summer months.

Read the Providing pathways story in the May 2022 edition of Water & Atmosphere 


Maori Organisational Development Manager