Both the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge and Massey University’s Pūhoro STEM* Academy (Pūhoro) are thrilled to announce the entering of a partnership together for the next four years.

Pūhoro’s mission to raise participation and achievement of Māori students in STEM thus enabling Māori to meet future workforce demands in STEM industries aligns well with that of HVN. Their mission to grow science excellence and the knowledge Aotearoa New Zealand needs, to create and deliver food to the world that people choose to stay healthy and well was an obvious fit.

This significant partnership, will seek to strengthen the capability pipeline for Māori rangatahi, interested in food science and innovation. This cooperation will create opportunities for rangatahi to be brought onto specialised internships funded through the partnership which will give exposure to High Value Nutrition research, personnel and knowledge and also provide opportunities to connect to HVN partners within the expansive field.

Pūhoro Director Naomi Manu has expressed her delight at the partnership with HVN. “I am thrilled that our rangatahi will have the opportunity to be exposed to the incredible work of HVN, and through our meaningful partnership gain a valuable line of sight towards the high value food, beverage and nutrition eco-system,” she says.

Congratulations to the HVN | Pūhoro students: Luke August, Alice Boyd, Sean Ferguson-Pye, Carson Hepi, Alex Hickman, Sarah Lewis, Erana Manu, Mieke Marsden, Olivia McEwen, Kahe Nakhla, Lily Sanson, Meschka Seifritz, Ella Silk, Shahannah Tahere, Grace Te Whatu and Shaniqka Wall!

“Māori engagement in this sector is not new and this collaboration will give our rangatahi further insight into the incredible innovations that are taking place which are world leading. Importantly, this relationship with HVN will allow them the chance to see and solidify their own connections to the land, the indigenous kai within it and the science underpinning what makes these products crucial to us as a nation but also incredibly valuable to the world!”

Launched in the Manawatū five years ago in 2016 with a cohort of 97 students from the region, the Pūhoro Academy has grown into a complete science, technology, engineering and mathematics support platform for Māori rangatahi across the country. Pūhoro supports successful transition across three interconnected ‘phases’ of secondary school, tertiary education and into employment/industry. All in a concerted effort to increase Māori engagement in the sciences, whilst at the same time strengthening rangatahi in the programme as Māori.

“HVN Ko Ngā Kai Whai Painga National Science Challenge is proud to be able to partner with the Pūhoro STEM Academy as it aligns well with our mission to grow the science excellence and knowledge that New Zealand needs to create and deliver food to the world that people need to stay healthy and well,” says Joanne Todd, HVN Director.

“HVN will support opportunities for rangatahi in Pūhoro to explore such areas as gut health, the future of food, protein-based alternatives, gastrointestinal disorders, the controlling of blood glucose concentrations, the non-invasive assessment of food, the biochemistry of insects and suitable plant species for the human diet,” she says.

*STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.