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Levi Faausuusu Itutu

We are thrilled to reflect on the successful completion of an extraordinary opportunity brought to you by TupuToa. Thanks to the generous funding from Education New Zealand’s Prime Minister’s Scholarship and Pagoda Projects, Māori and Pacific tauira had the chance to participate in a transformative 1-week onboarding and 8-week internship and entrepreneurship program in Taipei, Taiwan, widely renowned as Asia’s Silicon Valley.

From March to May of 2023, our selected group of 19 talented individuals, including TupuToa alumni and current interns, embarked on a remarkable journey of cultural exchange and personal growth. Throughout this period, they immersed themselves in the dynamic and innovative environment of Taipei, gaining invaluable professional experiences and forging lifelong connections. The program provided a unique opportunity to explore Taiwan’s thriving tech industry, learn from industry leaders, and navigate the exciting challenges of entrepreneurship. Our interns not only enhanced their skills and knowledge but also developed a deeper understanding of Taiwanese culture and its vibrant traditions.

Today, we look back on the incredible journey of Levi, a determined and talented tauira who seized the opportunity to embark on an unforgettable TupuToa internship experience. With his passion for Human Development and a Bachelor of Arts degree in hand from the University of Waikato, Levi pursued an internship with TupuToa in the field of Human Resources at Chorus in Auckland.

During his time at Chorus, Levi immersed himself in various aspects of HR, working with different teams each week, including DEI and Communications. This unique approach allowed him to gain a well-rounded understanding of the field and explore his areas of interest,

“…each week was different. So one week I’d be with the DEI team, the next week I’ll be with the Comms team, the next week… So they wanted me to experience that differently. But all in the field of HR, so it was pretty neat”. The flexibility and support offered by Chorus enabled Levi to tailor his experience to his preferences, ultimately leading to a rewarding and fulfilling internship.

Levi’s dedication and enthusiasm did not go unnoticed, as he formed strong connections with his colleagues and expressed a desire to return to Chorus in the future. The supportive environment and opportunities for growth made a lasting impression on Levi, solidifying his admiration for TupuToa’s commitment to flexibility and nurturing talent,

As Levi ventures into the next chapter of his academic journey, pursuing his postgraduate studies in Social Policy at the University of Waikato, he carries the invaluable experiences and knowledge gained from his TupuToa internships. Balancing his studies and aspirations, Levi plans to seek part-time employment related to his degree, allowing him to apply his learnings in practical settings and further expand his skill set.

Levi completed his Internship in Taiwan with Graceful Lifestyle Management. Graceful Lifestyle Management is a management consultancy specifically for lifestyle sectors, based on private and confidential integrity with core values of time management, work‑life balance, and quality of life. During his internship, he was tasked with updating new products/services in different categories on WordPress, adding and revamping content, adjusting web appearance and making it user friendly for smartphone/ iPhone and PC and also Social media channel management from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc.

Looking back on his time in Taiwan as part of TupuToa’s internship program, Levi expresses immense joy and satisfaction, and the invaluable support of one of our tauira, Kelsi, who was an intern alongside him in Taiwan.

“Taiwan was rewarding in terms of learning new digital skills and forming connections with a diverse group of individuals. Networking is important in order to learn new skills and form long lasting and beneficial relationships”.

Levi found his experience in Taiwan as a great opportunity to network with people. The flexible environment allowed him to excel in different areas, the people were welcoming and always ensured he felt comfortable in a foreign environment.

“Taiwan was a huge culture shock for myself, the way people go about their lives was incredible to observe. The food (night markets) was definitely the best part and just the work ethic of people there, whether you were an elder or a teenager. It was inspiring to see the hustle. What got me by surprise though were the elderly people, they were very welcoming and kind but also always physically active”.

When asked about his advice for future interns, whether for Taiwan or within the TupuToa program, Levi emphasises the importance of authenticity and fearlessness. He encourages interns to be themselves, unafraid to express their ideas and opinions, and to seize every opportunity for growth and learning,

“Everyone says, and we always hear it everyday, ask questions, make the most of it, put yourself forward… just be you basically when you go into new environments, just be you”.

Thank you, Levi! Your journey has just begun, and we cannot wait to witness the remarkable achievements that lie ahead.

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