COVID-19 has upended many plans this year, but not many young people have swapped playing squash for an internship at a research institute. Massey University student Annaleise Faint joins Bragato Research Institute in Marlborough this week to undertake her Pūhoro STEM summer internship, part of a scholarship extended by BRI for the upcoming academic year. 

Annaleise is a NZ representative squash player, travelling to India in 2018 to compete at the World Junior Championships where she finished in the top 50 under-19s. This year she was offered a much sought-after US college squash scholarship to attend Dickenson University in Pennsylvania. COVID-19 has made it impossible for her to attend. 

“I’m disappointed I’m not going, of course, but I’m thrilled to be selected for the internship with BRI. It’s a great opportunity to do hands-on work in the research fieldI’m grateful that creating this internship is another way Pūhoro has positively impacted my studies” says Annaleise.  

Annaleise will be going into her second year at Massey University in 2021. She is majoring in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Currently her goal is to become a secondary school teacher in a Māori Medium school teaching Biology and Chemistry. As part of her engagement with Pūhoro, Annaleise has already been developing NCEA resources for Levels 1-3 science subjects that are Mātauranga Māori inspired. 

“It’s about revitalising te reo and Mātauranga Māori, normalising it and making it sustainable. My biggest passion is science and intertwining it with how my ancestors thought about it. If it hadn’t been for Pūhoro I wouldn’t have engaged with my Maori side nearly as much.” 

BRI drives world-leading innovation for the New Zealand wine industry, from ‘blue sky’ research through to the practical application of science in vineyards, wineries, and in the supply chain. During Annaleise’s internship at BRI she will experience how the organization operates in its new research winery in Blenheim, as well as travelling to take part in research at laboratories in Christchurch. BRI’s commitment to Vision Mātauranga is at the heart of the scholarship offered to Annaleise. Vision Mātauranga is the Government’s science policy framework to unlock the science and innovation potential of Māori knowledge, resources and people for the benefit of all New Zealanders.  

Bragato Research Institute CEO MJ Loza said the wine industry is just starting its journey with Vision Mātauranga.  

“We’re fortunate to have Annaleise over the summer and look forward to her insights,” says MJ Loza. 

Launched in 2016, Pūhoro is a complete science, technology, engineering and mathematics pipeline for young Māori that supports engagement from secondary school, through tertiary education and into employment. Today, the academy fosters the development of over 800 Māori students, representing more than 80 iwi throughout the nation, and is focused on revitalizing Mātauranga Māori within STEM. 

Pūhoro stakeholder relationships manager Dr. Mahonri Owen (Ngāpuhi and Tūwharetoa) has expressed his delight at Annaliese being able to secure this important internship. “Amongst all the uncertainties and challenges of this crazy year it is really exciting to see Annaliese take up this opportunity. We know she will do an amazing job and that the team at the Bragato Research Institute will provide her with an awesome experience”. 

For more information, please contact: 

Trish Grammer, Communications 

Bragato Research Institute trish.grammer@bri.co.nz 021 984324 

Dr. Mahonri Owen m.owen@massey.ac.nz