Te Kūwaha Graduate Programme

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. 

Applications for 2021/22 now open:

Tōkia ki te hiringa matua o te taiao 

Become an intern in the Te Kūwaha Graduate Programme 

  • Hamilton-based 
  • 12-month fixed term, full-time 
  • Start November 2021 

Our graduate internship programme will provide two recent Māori science graduates (BSc or MSc) with an opportunity to learn and engage in delivering Māori environmental research. 

The successful applicants will become part of Te Kūwaha, NIWA’s National Centre of Māori Environmental Research and 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. 

  • These 12-month full-time fixed term internships will start November 2021 (negotiable) 
  • Applications close at 5pm, Sunday, 10 October.  

Apply for becoming an intern

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 their story.

Tekiteora Rolleston-Gabel

Ngāpera Keegan


Maori Organisational Development Manager