Sarah reports into our Manager Marketing and Communications, Kim Nugent

Sarah Lewis

HERA Whanake Scholarship Recipient 2019 | Massey University, Mechatronics

I’m the inaugural recipient of HERA’s Whanake scholarship, and have recently completed the first of my internships as part of this opportunity. I’m due to move into my second year of studies as a mechatronics engineer at Massey University.

My internship at HERA has seen me work on a project to increasing Māori engagement within the NZ Metals industry as part of a larger transformation agenda. Most of the work I’ve done so far has been research into existing programs and resources, as well as developing a tool box for HERA members to start this journey.

For me, it’s great knowing that HERA is looking out for the future of Maori engineers – especially when only about 5.5% of New Zealand’s current engineers identify as Maori. With increased engagement, there will be more opportunity to collaborate with Māori and discover new forms of innovation together.

Just as the word Whanake means to rise, grow and develop, the goal of the Whanake scholarship is to raise Maori to a stage where their voices can be heard, to help them grow, and develop themselves and their skills.

HERA has done just that for me. Giving me a voice and allowing me to grow and develop myself in ways I’m not sure I would have been able to on my own – or at least not without a bit of prompting! It hasn’t been much, but the little bit I have grown is just a start for bigger growth in the future.

So far, I’ve been able to make new connections, expand my horizons, experience working in an office environment for the first time and through it all everyone has been so friendly and helpful.

It’s thanks to this, that my interest in engineering continues to grow every day from when it started during high school. Choosing to major in mechatronics because it covers both mechanical and electrical engineering which appeals to me. And, while I’m only at the beginning of my journey in tertiary education – I’m excited about what the future may hold.

I can’t wait to explore what kinds of opportunities could open up to me and how I might be able to contribute.