The Pūhoro STEM Academy recently hosted a whakatau as an anchor point to formally mark the beginning of 50 internships for Māori students recruited to the programme, across the country over the summer period.
Tieghan Anderson (Ngā puhi) was selected for an internship scholarship and will be supervised by Dr Rebekah Fuller (Ngā puhi) at Lincoln Agritech. The scholarship is match-funded by Lincoln Agritech and the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge.
Tieghan will contribute to an MBIE-funded research programme that is developing nitrogen-fixing pine trees and grasses. Tieghan will work in two locations, Christchurch and Minginui (the Bay of Plenty). In the Lincoln Agritech laboratory, she will help to isolate, identify and select micro-organisms that can naturally fix nitrogen and metabolites that enhance a plant’s tolerance to stress. In January, Tieghan will join kaimahi from the Minginui Nursery and will work in the nursery’s biodiscovery laboratory to isolate, test and produce micro-organisms that have potential to promote growth and have biocontrol properties, thus reducing the need to apply chemical sprays on the nursery seedlings.
Dr Rebekah Fuller is delighted to have Tieghan on board - “I met Tieghan in person this week and I am impressed with her willingness to be involved in all of our project work. We look forward to getting to know her better, sharing our passion for harore (fungi) and the rural community we work with in Minginui and Te Whaiti. I have enjoyed seeing the commitment Pūhoro has to their Māori STEM students and even though Tieghan is Lincoln Agritech’s first Pūhoro student, we look forward to buidling our relationship with the Pūhoro team and their students into the future.”
Pūhoro Stakeholder Relationships Manager, Dr. Mahonri Owen (Ngā puhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa), is extremely pleased that Tieghan has been chosen to intern at Lincoln Agritech. “I’m thrilled that Tieghan can work under the supervison of Dr. Rebekah Fuller. Both Tieghan and Rebekah are of Ngā puhi descent, so not only will they be able to connect as they apply technical skills in the laboratory pertaining to this project, but before that even commences they already share a common whakapapa tribal link! This internship with Lincoln Agritech will afford Tieghan an opportunity to gain new skills and valuable experience. Furthermore, having a Māori worldview lens to what is being studied also demonstrates how the benefits of these internships cannot be understated”.
Launched in 2016, Pūhoro is a complete science, technology, engineering and mathematics platform for rangatahi Māori that supports its students across three distinct ‘phases’ - secondary school, through tertiary education, and into industry and employment. The programme has approximately 800 students and is on target to reach 1000 Māori students across South Auckland, Manawatū, Hawke's Bay, Kāpiti and Christchurch by the first quarter of 2021. Rangatahi in the programme whakapapa to over 85 iwi across the country.
Thanks to Garry and Darlene from Whirinaki Forest Lodge who will accommodate Tieghan during her stay in Minginui.
For more information, please contact:
Dr Mahonri Owen
Pūhoro STEM academy www.puhoro.org.nz