Changing the face of the IT sector

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Research from TupuToa, a Māori and Pacific youth internship programme based in Auckland, shows that only 17% of New Zealand's top 60 firms have an executive who identifies themselves as other than European/Pākehā. Te Kāea spoke with a graduate of the TupuToa programme who is changing the face of the IT industry in Aotearoa.

From Ōtara to the corporate tech industry, young Māori IT professional Timoti Wharewaka is a game changer.

He says, "I like to act as a role model for my own community in Ōtara and my family because I know that we have the power to do it all it takes is hard work and a lot of mahi."

Following an internship opportunity through TupuToa, he's just secured a permanent position New Zealand-based technology company Accenture as an Application Support Associate.

Wharewaka says, “For me stepping into a place like that and understanding the importance of my culture and how I can really add value to this organisation to help solve their problems it's really something I've tried to embrace.”

Accenture began a partnership with Auckland-based TupaToa in 2017, an investment partnership between organisations, interns, tertiary institutions, whānau and Māori and Pasifika communities. Wharewaka is one who is making the most of this opportunity.

“Being able to connect with other young Māori and Pacifica students, sharing dreams and aspirations to better our people and get into these corporate organisations it's really something that we can really achieve,” says Wharewaka.

Accenture says employing young Māori or Pasifika encourages diversity of thought and sees it as a major driver of business growth.

Head of Cloud First at Accenture NZ, Daniel Lund says, “By bringing on these grads as interns into our organisation we're helping to solve our client problems with that unique thought and thinking that's coming from New Zealand.”

Mr Wharewaka hopes to be one day set up his own company to give back to his community.