Two Victoria University of Wellington students are the first in the country to undertake an iwi internship at Te Tatau o Te Arawa.
Victoria Maori Studies honours students Ataria Sharman and Alan Hunt were invited to complete inaugural internships with the board.
Established in 2015, Te Tatau o Te Arawa is an elected board representing the collective interests of Te Arawa and strengthening the relationship between the Rotorua Lakes Council and Te Arawa.
It is the only partnership board of its kind in New Zealand.
During the internship Ms Sharman focused her research on the modes and levels of engagement between the board and the Rotorua Lakes Council, while Mr Hunt researched key performance indicators in local government.
"It was so cool to be part of something bigger and use the skills I learned at Victoria to give back to the community. Being a descendant of Te Arawa waka myself, it was great to connect back to the Rotorua area," Ms Sharman said.
The students presented interim and final findings to the members of Te Tatau o Te Arawa and at the conclusion of the internship, both students held a seminar as part of Victoria's Te Kawa a Maui Seminar Series attended by university staff and students.
Te Tatau o Te Arawa Executive Officer Jude Pani said working with such talented rangatahi filled her with great hope.
"Having Ataria and Alan undertaking their internships with us was of real value to Te Tatau o Te Arawa. They helped us review and analyse some of our key strategic documentation, which gave us insight into how we could improve our processes."
"Because the partnership board is a new and unique arrangement with the Rotorua Lakes Council, the reports that the students wrote will provide tangible benefits for both parties to build the relationship," Head of Māori Studies at Te Kawa a Maui Dr Maria Bargh said.
Although these internships were a first for Te Tatau o Te Arawa, the iwi internship is a Maori Studies honours level Kaupapa Turua/Special Topic at Victoria.
It provides selected students with the opportunity to gain insights into the operations of an iwi organisation, the roles and responsibilities of iwi representatives, resource consent processes and/or iwi negotiations with the Crown.