Wairakei teaching their interns

Contact Energy's Maori interns will be spending the next eight weeks with the power company building relationships.
Steph Rangi

Contact Energy's Maori interns will be spending the next eight weeks with the power company building relationships.

Contact Energy Wairakei have welcomed three new interns as part of their Maori Internship Scheme.

Last week, a total of five interns were at Wairakei Power Station undergoing induction at the start of their eight week placement.

Three of the five interns are placed at Wairakei and will be partnered up with the generation and development team, environment team and also the geothermal resource and development team.

Two others will be in Wellington, focusing on the marketing and wholesale side and there is also one other intern who will be partnered up with Contact Energy's sustainability manager, Kaapua Smith, with the focus being on water and climate changes.

Criteria for the interns meant each one had to be currently engaged in a tertiary programme of study and looking to make a contribution to their iwi.

The internship at Contact Energy has been going for the past three years. This year, they had 40 applicants.

Smith said each year, the internship has grown.

"The purpose for them is to help strengthen our relationship with the Tangata Whenua," she said.

John Rapana, one of the Wairakei interns, said they are all there to give back to their iwi and hapu.

Elsa Hug Nicholl added it's all about learning new skills.

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"It's about upskilling and being a connection between the power company and the iwi," she said 

With the internship programme being a hit, a successful intern from last year said the internship was great.

"My internship at Contact was an eye opener in so many ways in areas such as efficiency and organisational skills and confidence in delivery," Awhina Eru, said.

"I got that confidence in myself at Contact thanks to the constant support of mym managers, the team I was with and the wider organisation."

Eru is now currently working as administrator of Whanau Or Ki TuWharetoa – effectively getting the entity back up and running and back to where it should be.

In terms of encouraging others, Eru said to to for it, as it's the best opportunity you can ever get.

 - Stuff

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