We’re excited to announce that Taine is one of our new recipients of the HERA Whanake Scholarship!


Ko Kai A Te Whetu te Maunga

Ko Ngatokimatawhaorua te Waka

Ko Waimamaku te awa

Ko Te Whakamaharatanga, Ko Te Huruhi nga marae.

Ko Ngapuhi te iwi

Ko Ngati Pou te hapu


“My journey with Pūhoro in STEM started in 2018 when Pūhoro started a branch in Tāmaki Makaurau, never did I think it would take me this far. I’ve connected with other young tauira in STEM careers, interned at the Auckland Space Institute and even helped researchers on Ponui Island studying kiwi. All through Pūhoro. Many of these things I didn’t think were possible for me. I’ve grown up in South Auckland, attending Rosehill College and was honored to be their head student back in 2020. All these different experiences and more have helped shape me into who I am today.”


Where are you studying?

“I’m currently studying engineering at the University of Auckland.”


Why engineering?

“I’ve always been drawn to engineering, partially because when I was younger my Koro would call me ‘tutu’ a term he used whenever I would fidget and tinker with toys around the house. That attitude has never left me, and I am still filled with a curiosity towards the world and a desire to understand it. Because of this engineering has only ever felt like a natural progression as it has pushed me to greater understand many of the aspects of the world around us and learn new ways to utilize them.”

2023 Whanake Scholarship Recipient, Taine Naera.

Current aspirations?

“My current aspirations are not quite clearly defined, like it once was. My continued exposure to the field of engineering has led to many experiences and opportunities that I had never previously considered were possible. Though currently undefined, I do believe that graduating with a degree in engineering is a vital step forward in my career and therefore my priority.”


How has receiving Whanake affected your studies?

“Receiving the Whanake scholarship means a lot to me for a few reasons. Firstly, the financial burden of tertiary study is no longer an issue and therefore I no longer need to prioritize working as frequently. This leads to another reason why I find getting the Whanake scholarship so important. By not needing to work as frequently I have the capability to use my time elsewhere, in particular focusing more on studying and possibly pursue other areas of improvement such as connecting more with being Māori.”


Association with heavy engineering and metal based engineering?

“For me, metal based engineering and heavy engineering has a large association with innovation. As there are multiple areas of engineering requiring the use of metals the need to research and innovate upon these metals occurs. Innovations in this area can therefore be extremely useful (of course this is more subjective on a case by case basis depending on the innovation).”


What is the importance of Māori in engineering to you?

“I think that there is a lack of Māori in engineering. With this lack, it makes every individual māori in engineering even more important as they serve as role models and tuakana for other māori who wish to have a career in engineering. With more māori in engineering, focuses on areas such as sustainability and effects on the environment become more obvious due to the unique perspective of māori and our responsibility in kaitiakitanga.


What do you do in your free time?

“Whenever I get some free time I like to see friends and family and spend time with them. They help keep me grounded.”


Why did we choose Taine?

Taine was selected for the HERA Whanake scholarship based on his exceptional achievements and demonstrated dedication to both academic and community pursuits. His previous work experience at the Auckland Space Institute and the Pūhoro STEM Academy showcased his passion for science and technology, while his roles as Head Student and Head of the Community Committee at Rosehill College highlighted his leadership skills and commitment to making a positive impact in his school community. Taine’s impressive track record and well-rounded involvement made him a highly deserving recipient of the HERA Whanake scholarship.