Skip to content

Tupu Tai alumna sees change as key to making a difference

Tupu Tai alumna sees change as key to making a difference

  • 14 Jun 2020

The most important thing Sisifa Lui has taken away from her time at the Ministry for Pacific Peoples is if people want to see a difference, they need to move differently.  

Sisifa joined the MPP team as a 2019/2020 Tupu Tai Public Policy Summer Intern, and she affirms her experience at the Ministry has made her proud of the woman she is becoming. 

The Tupu Tai Public Policy Summer Internship programme offers a gateway of opportunities for young and mature Pacific peoples to gain experience in the public sector.

It recognises Pacific peoples’ potential, skills, and voices at the table of decisions, Sisifa says.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) facilitates the 11-week internship programme, which is supported by 21 agencies who take on summer interns.

Born and bred in Tongatapu, Tonga before relocating to New Zealand in 2011, Sisifa hails from Vava'u and Tongatapu in Tonga; and Rotuma and Levuka in Fiji. 

The 21-year-old is currently studying a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Criminology at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT); she is also the current Student Body President for AUT's Student Association. 

Sisifa says she applied for Tupu Tai in 2019 because it was the first of its kind that offered an opportunity for more young Pacific peoples in public policy. 

“Public policy is often not a natural career pathway which young Pacific people aspire to, so I really wanted to challenge not only myself, but the stereotypical norms attached with Pacific people.  

“One important thing I took from my internship was that, if I want to see a difference, I need to move differently.  

“I don't believe I have changed exceptionally since my internship, but I do believe I've grown - I've grown in my leadership and I've grown in the spaces I've been given.”  

Young Pacific people are the future of Aotearoa, Sisifa continues. 

“If we wish for the future leaders of Aotearoa to reflect our people's voices, needs and aspirations then we need to encourage our people to apply for these internships.” 

Applications for the 2020/2021 Tupu Tai Public Policy Summer Internship are now open until midnight on July 12. 

Pacific tertiary students or recent graduates are encouraged to apply.

Visit HERE for information about the internship, criteria, assessment process and online application.