Te Kūwaha Graduate Programme

Te Kūwaha graduate programme interns (L to R): Melanie Mayall-Nahi, Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel, Jessie Scarrott, Ngapera Keggan, Siobhan Nuri. [Photo: Lana Young / NIWA]

NIWA, through its Māori Environmental Research team Te Kūwaha, is working in collaborative partnerships with Māori businesses, and whānau, hapū and iwi throughout Aotearoa, combining their skills in scientific enquiry with mātauranga Māori expertise, within the frame of tikanga Māori.

NIWA’s Te Kūwaha Graduate Internship programme has been established to help support and create tangible pathways for the next generation of Māori researchers. The purpose of the programme is to encourage Māori science graduates to consider ongoing postgraduate study and Māori-centred environmental research as a career pathway 

Interns work across NIWA for 12 months gaining practical experiences, building networks and developing a platform from which to consider their longer-term career opportunities in research. They will gain experience in freshwater, marine and estuarine sciences, fisheries, aquaculture, climate change and hazards, social research and mātauranga Māori, while learning how to communicate effectively with iwi/hapū/whānau and work collaboratively across disciplines. 

2021-22 intern

Jessie Scarrott

Jessie was part of the third intake of Te Kūwaha Graduate Interns. She graduated with a BSc in Ecology and Zoology at Massey University and is completing a PgDipSci in Marine Science at the University of Auckland.

During her internship Jessie catalogued species for NIWA’s national invertebrate collection, mapped seafloor habitats, surveyed upper North Island ports for invasive marine pests, and helped to develop an identification guide for introduced species.

Jessie is currently enrolling in a MSc through the University of Auckland to work alongside mana whenua and build new knowledge around the implications of a recently arrived marine invasive species on kaitiakitanga and the sustainability of te taiao.

2020-21 interns

In 2021 two Te Kūwaha interns joined NIWA researchers and crew on RV Tangaroa for a fisheries survey off the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. 

In the video Mel and Kara discover what life is like on the high seas by joining fisheries scientists, marine electronics technicians, captain and crew, to undertake a fisheries survey. They assisted the team below deck in the lab with collecting biological sampling and above deck colleting acoustic data of the seafloor and marine habitats. This data is used to help policy makers manage our fisheries. 

Kararaina Te Puni

Kararaina has a background in chemistry and recently completed her honours in mechanochemistry at the University of Auckland.

Melanie Mayall-Nahi

Melanie recently finished her MSc in Environmental Management at the University of Auckland. Her thesis looked at how kaitiaki active experiences of river restoration can broaden our understanding of cultural and spiritual dimensions of restoration.

2019-20 interns

Ngāpera Keegan and Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel were the first two young researchers in NIWA’s Te Kūwaha Graduate Programme. We caught up with them halfway through their internships to find out what they had been doing, read more at https://niwa.co.nz/publications/water-and-atmosphere/water-atmosphere-24....

Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel

Ngāpera Keegan


Maori Organisational Development Manager