News Item

​TupuToa builds on past success

Success Stories 14 Oct 2017

TupuToa’s vision of creating pathways for Maori and Pasifika students into careers in the corporate and professional sectors is becoming clearer as the programme grows and evolves.

Acting Executive Director Rhys Faleafa says TupuToa has built on the successes of its first internship cohort over the 2016/2017 summer.

“We have grown from 29 to 70 plus interns, working with students from seven tertiary institutions from around the country, and picking up eight new workplaces for our interns to experience this summer,” Rhys says.

“Successfully building scale is our biggest achievement this year, and we aim to double our numbers again next year.”

Meeting and empowering the amazing Maori and Pasifika tertiary students involved in the programme has been a huge highlight since it began last year, Rhys adds.

“Our alumni continue to shine - building on their start with TupuToa and forging the beginning of exciting careers, and the next cohort are as equally as exciting.

“Meeting students from different tertiaries around the North Island and connecting with their whanau has been a highlight again, and we have another amazing group of future leaders ready to take corporate Aotearoa by storm.”

The programme is focused on supporting penultimate and final year tertiary students with their transition into professional and corporate careers, and the pipeline has increased from AUT and the University of Auckland last year, to include Massey University, Unitec, MIT, Waikato University, Victoria and a student from Otago this year.

These pipeline relationships are crucial to the future growth and success of TupuToa, Rhys says.

“We have also connected in with various iwi and NGO’s such as First Foundation who have promoted our programme to their rangatahi, and referred their future leaders for inclusion.”

TupuToa Gala Dinner

To celebrate the outstanding achievement of TupuToa’s 2017/2018 interns – 70 young Maori and Pasifika who will change the face of Aotearoa’s corporate leadership landscape – a Gala Dinner will be staged on February 15, 2018 at The Langham Hotel, in Auckland.

The dinner is a penultimate event enabling the portfolio of TupuToa’s investment, support and scholarship partners, interns, alumni, and wider TupuToa whanau to acknowledge these young leaders and celebrate the success and growth of TupuToa, transforming Aotearoa’s business landscape.

Meanwhile, TupuToa is also hosting a Kirihimete Celebration in Auckland ahead of Christmas, on November 29.

New CEO for TupuToa

Acting Executive Director Rhys Faleafa will step down from his role at the end of October, and will be replaced by Anne Fitisemanu, who has been appointed CEO.

Anne brings with her a significant background in public health, not-for-profit, advocacy and leadership and joins us having been the Community Manager for Pacific Health at Counties-Manukau DHB for the past five years. She is also an alumnus of the Global Women Breakthrough Leaders Programme.

TupuToa has an ambitious goal of 350 interns by 2020 and Anne’s expertise in establishing major initiatives through growth phases will be invaluable to the programme.

For more information, visit TUPUTOA or email

(Picture caption: TupuToa interns with Prime Minister Bill English at the inaugural Gala Dinner, which was facilitated by Pacific Cooperation Foundation.)