Kick-starting a career with TupuToa and Pharmac

Update Kauneke Update Rērere Kōrero

Each year Te Pātaka Whaioranga - Pharmac offers three paid TupuToa internships for Māori and Pacific tauira. We spoke to Sade Gilbert-Perenise (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) about the TupuToa internship and her placement at Pharmac.

Sade is a young Māori wahine. She is facing the left, wearing a graduation cap and gown, with a korowai over the top. The korowai has koru detailing around the top, and is primarily black, red and white.  .

“The TupuToa programme is awesome for students looking to learn about, and experience, careers in the private or public sector,” says Sade. “I heard about TupuToa from friends who had completed internships in previous years, and I was keen to join because I knew it would prepare me for joining the workforce.”

Sade describes TupuToa as a bridge between university life and finding a job.

“TupuToa found me placements in areas I studied, or am interested in, and the navigators supported me through each internship. I was excited because it was an opportunity for me to ‘kick-start’ my career – and the opportunity to work at Pharmac was too good to pass up!”

After joining Pharmac’s Policy and Government Services Team in November 2022, Sade was excited to experience working in the health and disability system.

“I have a Bachelor of Health Sciences and recently completed my Postgraduate Diploma in Public Health at the University of Otago. So, working within the health and disability system was a perfect opportunity,” says Sade.

“I started as an intern at Pharmac and ended up staying on a bit longer with a graduate role. I learned about how a crown agency works and got to experience being part of its internal functions. I also got practical experience in writing techniques and formatting used in the public sector and was able to familiarise myself with both the Official Information Act and the Privacy Act.”

Sade enjoyed working at Pharmac.

“Working at Pharmac was an awesome experience. I appreciated the highs and lows of adapting to a new working environment. Everyone I interacted with was so helpful, and my colleagues and the Māori caucus were absolutely the best people. They were super helpful with my work queries, ensuring I was okay and making sure my time at Pharmac was enjoyable.”

Sade is now working as an advisor at Te Aka Whai Ora.

About the TupuToa internship programme

TupuToa is a pathway that provides professional employment opportunities for Māori and Pacific tertiary tauira in corporate, government, and community organisations.  

Their goal is for these organisations to be more representative of Aotearoa. They do this by developing and empowering tauira and building the cultural capability of the corporate, government, and community sectors.

Pharmac has participated in the TupuToa programme since 2021. It supports our desire to be a pro equity organisation and uphold our Te Tiriti o Waitangi commitments. We aspire to attract diverse talent, so our staff profile represents, where possible, that of the New Zealand public we serve.

The TupuToa internship programme is 12 weeks and runs from November to February.

This story is part of our Kauneke Update 

The Kauneke Update will keep you informed on important news and progress towards Te Pātaka Whaioranga – Pharmac's strategic goals. In te reo Māori, kauneke means to develop and move forward.