Tupu Toa is an innovative national corporate internship and early career development programme for young Maori and Pacific leaders. Its vision is to see a strong and resilient Maori and Pasifika business leaders growing a better Aotearoa NZ.
Le Va’s involvement in the programme was bringing the Pasifika cultural perspective to both the interns and their mentors. Two workshops were held in November the first for the interns and later in the week for the mentors.
Monique and Saveatama worked with the interns to understanding that their culture as a value add in business, diversity is a positive & the importance of their culture and cultural values. The session helped many of the interns to acknowledge their culture, that it had a place in the western corporate world as many had struggled to bring the two worlds together. The session continued to help them learn & understand more cultural concepts like the Va (The Sacred Space) as a basis of building & nurturing relationships. It also helped them to discover their “Why” – their motivating factors, connecting who they are with what they do. There were tears for some of as they spoke of sacrifices of their families made for them to be educated, as revelations of “who they are as Pasifika & Maori” & their desire to learn more as they acknowledged their deficit & more importantly the acceptance of the challenge to hold fast their cultural treasures in a western paradigm of business & living out their purpose statements.
There was an air of excitement for the future of this inaugural cohort, the pathways they will etch out for themselves and for future Pasifika and Maori in the corporate world. However it would still be a pathway with challenges that will require courage, the same that saw our parents leave the safety & security of the islands to find new life for their families and loved ones.
After an exciting start with the interns Saveatama co facilitated together with Rangimarie Hunia of Ngati Whatua & also co-chair of Tupu Toa, giving Pasifika and Maori experience and insight to help increase their ability to engage with the interns and provide a supportive envrionment. It also gave them a chance for more clarity around their roles as mentors.
Interns and mentors alike were challenged to reflect on the question “What would it look like if Culture and Corporates connected?” If you have any thoughts, post on our Facebook page and let us know!