Tupu Tai helps realise intern’s dream career

posted: 9:00 am - 12th December 2018
MPPs Sela Finau with intern Darren Young.

(Picture caption: The Ministry for Pacific Peoples National Policy Manager Sela Finau with Tupu Tai intern Darren Young.) 

While many dream of spending the summer in the sun, Darren Young is seizing the opportunity to gain practical experience in the policy world, interning with the Ministry for Pacific Peoples (MPP) as part of the Tupu Tai initiative.

A product of West Auckland’s Massey High School, Darren is in his final semester at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), where he is studying towards a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in International Studies and Social Sciences. 

Of Pitcairn Island and Tongan descent, the 23-year-old grew up in West and South Auckland as part of a huge extended family.

During his time at AUT, Darren says he was made aware of the Tupu Tai initiative via an email sent to Pacific students.

“I thought it was an exciting initiative and I wanted to ensure I was part of it,” he says.

The Tupu Tai Pasifika internships are an interagency initiative that supports Pacific students to explore career pathways within the public sector.

This year, the internships are a joint programme between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Defence, and State Services Commission and Treasury.

Applicants are able to choose to spend their summer internship at any of the seven government agencies working in policy, procurement and project management areas.

“Tupu” means to grow and “Tai” means tide in a number of Pacific dialects – referring to the growing tide or potential of Pacific young people who make up a growing part of the New Zealand workforce.

In terms of career aspirations, Darren says he is fairly open-minded, but he has been considering a career in the policy sector.

“For me, a key driver in thinking about career goals is how I can be an influence for change in the community or society I find myself in.

“The Tupu Tai initiative helps me to realise what could be a future dream career.”

Coming from his background, Darren says he did not have window to the policy world, despite studying papers relating to the policy sector.

“Having a foot in the door and gaining practical experience is an amazing opportunity I could not turn down - I guess I could say I am living my dream for the summer.”

Darren started a 10-week internship at MPP in November, based in Wellington which is exciting for him as he has never lived away from home before.

Tasks he has been given include reading through cabinet papers; writing responses to cabinet papers; reading through key policy work by MPP; and attending meetings with other agencies and stakeholders.

During his internship, Darren says he wants to gain exposure of being in the policy sphere in the capital city of Aotearoa; network with other Tupu Tai interns and policy workers; and gain practical work experience where he can apply learning from his formal studies and personal experience, but also use the experience for future work or study.

Email tuputai@mbie.govt.nz for more information about the initiative.