Harata Taurima-Thomas is living her dream. The EIT graduate, with a Bachelor of Arts (Māori) through Te Ūranga Waka on the Hawke’s Bay Campus, is currently on an internship at Māori Television in Auckland and believes she has found her calling.

EIT graduate Harata Taurima-Thomas is enjoying her internship at Māori Television in Auckland. She is photographed reporting on the Protect Pūtiki demonstration outside the Auckland City Courthouse.

For 21-year-old Harata, her future pathway began when she enrolled at EIT in 2018.

“It was the most amazing experience ever. It just felt so right being at EIT, learning te reo, our korero, our history and our tikanga, right where I was from in Ngāti Kahungunu.”

Her long-term plan was to continue studying, but a summer job in the boning room at the Whakatū Meat Works gave her a new perspective.

“I loved the job and have a lot of family who still work there. Toughening up at the works really gave me the tenacity to pursue the internship. I was sad to leave but realised that I needed to utilise my degree and chase my dream of working in te reo Māori.”

Harata had the courage to cold call Māori Television with a pledge she’d be willing to start from the ground-level. By chance, the network had just launched its internship programme and flew her to Auckland for an interview.

“We hadn’t advertised the internship and were impressed by the enthusiasm of this young wahine,” said Māori Television’s Director of Content, Maramena Roderick.

“She showed initiative to get her foot in the door and that’s exactly what we were looking for. Her passion for te reo Māori and willingness to start from the bottom sealed the interview.”

Harata admits that a boning room and a television studio are on “opposite ends of the spectrum”.

“I was absolutely blown away with them and everything worked out.”

Interns are rotated through all departments to learn every facet of the business from live studio shows to technology and operations, marketing and social media as well as news and current affairs. Successful interns may be offered a full-time role at the end of their training.

Harata’s first rotation was with Mataora which produces live shows like Lucky Dip, Pio Terei Tonight and 5 Minutes of Fame.

“Mataora is where all the in-house productions and sets are made. My mahi included working with the producers and crew, learning everything that happens behind the scenes to make a live show from co-ordinating guests and talent, props, call sheets and audience control. It’s been eye-opening.”

Harata has also created content for TUKUHQ, the digital platform for rangatahi.

“It’s an experience I’ll never forget. Every step was exciting and I learnt something new like the practicalities of creating content from scratch, researching and pitching an idea to editing the final product.”

A stint in the reo Māori Department, which undertakes translating and subtitling, also appealed to the young fluent speaker. But it is the newsroom that looms next for Harata.

“I will be heading there later this year to shadow journalists, learn the disciplines of reporting and working to tough deadlines. .”

She has already had a taste of journalism. Harata and another intern produced a “mood piece” on Protect Pūtiki, a protest action against a proposed marina development at Pūtiki Bay on Waiheke Island.

“They were having a demonstration outside the Auckland City Council, and we saw on Facebook that it was happening so asked if we could cover it. We got to go out with our handheld camera and our little mic and interview people. It was exhilarating.”

Rush hour traffic and COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdowns have not deterred her and she is determined to pursue a career with the media organisation.

“Lockdown has shown that everything can change suddenly and it’s all hands on deck. My dream has made me part of a team where even interns can make a difference.”

Senior Lecturer at Te Ūranga Waka, Parekura Rohe-Belmont, said that Harata was the co-recipient of two awards – the Tuahine Northover ‘He Maimai Aroha’ award for key roles held on the marae ātea, and the Robin Albert award for all round excellence within the degree programme.

“We are very proud of Harata, poho kererū ana mātau!”

EIT is a member of the Steering Group who worked on the Matariki Hawke’s Bay Regional Development Strategy (HBRDS). Growing people to be work-ready and matching them with employee-ready organisations who foster a spirit of lifelong learning across our collective workforce is key Pou 2 of Matariki HBRDS.

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