Written on 14 February 2019 by pateln

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Last week, more than 30 interns graduated from the Tupu Tai Pasifika internship programme that’s helping Pacific students experience and begin career paths across the public sector.

This initiative has gone from strength to strength since it began in 2015. Back then, just one intern graduated after working in one Public Service agency. In 2018/19, 16 agencies offered a wide range of roles and experiences  to Tupu Tai Pasifika interns over the summer.

Diversity and inclusion are important. Public Service leaders know our workforce needs to better reflect the communities we serve. We need to get better at encouraging different perspectives from people with diverse backgrounds. Their continued participation will help us deliver better results for all our communities. 

It’s great to hear the interns themselves know that they are part of a changing tide.

Intern Litiana Wilson told the graduation audience last week that “We are the evidence of the change that is taking place”.

I want to congratulate the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for developing and driving Tupu Tai Pasifika. It offers practical opportunities that go beyond frontline roles. Giving graduates the chance to start leading and influencing is one of the best ways for us to address the pay gaps women and some ethnic groups are experiencing.

For the Public Service workforce to truly reflect our society, we need to reach into the hearts of Pacific, Māori and other communities to help them understand that the public sector offers some of the most meaningful, challenging and rewarding work opportunities available in our country.

We can all be ambassadors for this message. I intend to take every opportunity to deliver it and invite all public servants to join me as we build a more diverse, capable and connected Public Service for New Zealand. 

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