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What should I do after graduation: 3 helpful tips for Māori and Pasifika graduates

Taylor Tutawa

Congratulations, you’ve officially graduated and now have countless opportunities waiting for you. All the hard work and stress has paid off, but where and what should I do now? Whereas other graduates may take a gap year off or take a slow approach to job hunting, Māori and Pasifika graduates do not have that luxury.

Financial need and a cultural expectation of providing for whanau and the wider community ensure that Māori and Pasifika graduates don’t become lazy or complacent after graduation. But the responsibility of this can be stressful without proper guidance or some helpful insight. This article will help Māori and Pasifika graduates searching for guidance in taking their next steps. Read on!

Apply to graduate job programmes/internships

There are a growing number of graduate programmes helping students and recent graduates and in particular Māori and Pasifika. These programmes connect graduates with employees looking for the brightest and most talented people to join their organisation. Some of the best graduate programmes specialising in helping Māori and Pasifika are Tupu Toa, Tupu Tai, The Growth Project and several government agencies also offer specific internships with their agency (e.g. Te Puni Kōkiri and Ministry of Pacific Peoples). Joining one of these programmes helps skip the process of job hunting and places graduates directly in contact with employees. This should be the first step in considering what to do next.

Working for non-for-profit Māori and Pasifika organisations

An alternative method of job seeking for Māori and Pasifika graduates could be to apply for positions at non-for-profit/local/community organisations run by Māori and Pasifika people. The work culture in these organisations is often positive with a personal focus on everyone collectively working together for the betterment of the team, organisation and the community which the organisation serves. For Māori graduates applying to work, I would recommend approaching your Iwi/Hapu to see if there is any possibility for work, or for them to connect you with other Māori led organisations. Pasifika graduates are advised to reach out to people in their community to see what opportunities there are for work. Depending on your industry (media, the creative arts, government agencies etc) there are a number of organisations led by Māori and Pasifika which may just be the place for you.

Look for companies that incorporate diversity as one of their main selling points to join their company

Māori and Pasifika people being the two most significant minority groups in Aotearoa New Zealand means that many employers will seek to attract new graduates to their organisation by incorporating diversity into the workplace. However, an organisation must do more than give itself a Māori name and hit a quota of Māori and Pasifika staff hired by the organisation. Māori and Pasifika graduates who are looking for the right organisation to join should do a background check on who are the key people in charge of the organisation, what are their policies regarding diversity in the workplace and what is the public perception of them (perhaps look at published news articles on the organisation or social media posts relating back to the said organisation). It is important that the place where you end up working is welcoming and supportive of you, and is culturally aware of what is appropriate and not appropriate in the workplace. Do some investigating into what organisation seems like the best fit for you, and in no time the right organisation will come to you or you to them.

And that’s it. Three very straightforward tips for Māori and Pasifika graduates looking for some help in deciding what to do after graduation. Getting a good idea of what you want to do and how you will achieve these goals will help to put you on a good path moving forward. Good luck to you and stay up to date with all relevant information about graduation programmes, internships, and job opportunities by visiting GradMahi.