About Taupae Pia

What is a graduate programme?

Graduate programmes are designed to attract recent tertiary graduates who are inspired to become future leaders in a specialist field, rather than simply providing the basic on-the-job training required to perform in a role.

Our graduate programme is unique because it is about offering the opportunity to gain a rich experience and develop life-long career skills. We’re aiming to develop transferable skills that support Māori to achieve tino rangatiratanga over their whenua.

While we want to retain this talent within our organisation, we also recognise the importance of developing these skills for the wider benefit of Māori, their whānau, hapū and iwi.

What does Taupae Pia mean?

Taupae Pia = Graduate Programme.

“Taupae” is a ridge or hill from where one can look out and scan (set up for the future). “Pia” are post grad students, traditionally the first order of learners being initiated in esoteric lore.

What dates do I need to be aware of?

We are still accepting applications for the 2023 intake. If you are interested in working with us, please send your CV and a covering letter to our recruitment team.

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from anyone who is, or is about to be, a recent graduate.

Our ideal applicant is someone who has less than a year’s professional work experience. This is because we teach entry level skills aimed at those new to the workforce.

We’re particularly interested in applications from whānau studying in the range of fields below, and who have a longer-term aspiration to use their skills in service to their iwi, hapū and whānau.

  • Accounting / Finance
  • Agribusiness, business management, commerce, Māori agribusiness
  • Agriculture, horticulture, science
  • Corporate finance
  • Communications, marketing, design, UX
  • Information technology, information management
  • Māori Studies
  • Rural land valuation
  • Property management

Is it just for Māori students?

Our graduate programme is open to any graduate who is passionate about working in Māori land administration.

Is it just for rangatahi?

We welcome applications from anyone who is, or is about to be, a recent graduate. However, our ideal applicant is someone who has less than a year’s professional work experience. This is because we teach entry level skills aimed at those new to the workforce.

If you have part-time work experience; you’ve taken a career break and you’re looking to get back into the workforce after completing a qualification; or you delayed studying until after raising a whānau and you’re now looking for your next step, then you could be a great applicant.

About Te Tumu Paeroa

Who is the Māori Trustee?

The current Māori Trustee is Dr Charlotte Severne. She was appointed in 2018 by the Minister for Māori Development. Charlotte Severne is the first ever wahine Māori to hold this role.

Te Tumu Paeroa is the Office of the Māori Trustee, an independent organisation led by the Māori Trustee. We provide professional trustee services to support the Māori Trustee to fulfil her trustee duties and responsibilities.

We work as one to administer over 88,000 hectares of Māori land on behalf of over 100,000 land owners.

What is Te Tumu Paeroa?

E totoka ai te tumu o te papatipu hei oranga mō Te Iwi Maori, o mua, o naianei, o anamata hoki.

Ko Te Tumu Paeroa tēnei, te kaitiaki, kaitaunaki, kaiwhakawhanake i te mana o ngā whenua Māori, huri noa.

So that the foundations of ancestral lands may be solid, benefitting Māori from our past, present and future alike.

This is Te Tumu Paeroa, guardian, supporter and advancer of the mana of Māori land everywhere.

Our vision is to ensure Māori land is protected and enhanced, now and for generations to come. As a dedicated professional trustee service for Māori we achieve this through our values – Tōtika, Kotahitanga, Manaakitanga, and Mana.

What is Māori land?

Under Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 there are two types of Māori Land.

These two types of Māori land are Māori freehold land and Māori customary land.

A third category of land – General land owned by Māori – is also subject to some of the provisions of Te Ture Whenua Māori Act. There are also Māori reservations which are Māori land set aside as reservations for specific purposes.

This is land where Māori customary interests have been converted to freehold title by the Māori Land Court or its predecessors by a freehold order. This land has therefore never been out of Māori ownership.

Most Māori freehold land was created by the Land Courts in the 19th and early 20th centuries as part of a drive to convert communal ownership to individual title. Māori freehold land continues to be Māori land until the Māori Land Court changes its status.

Today almost all Māori land is Māori freehold land. There are about 1.47 million hectares of Māori freehold land, which makes up roughly five percent of all land in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Māori Trustee has been appointed trustee of nearly 1,800 Māori land trusts. On behalf of the Māori Trustee, Te Tumu Paeroa administers around 7% of all whenua Māori.

What is Māori Land Administration?

Whenua is recognised in New Zealand legislation as Taonga Tuku Iho, a treasure to be handed down. Land nurtures and sustains us. It’s where we derive our mana from. It’s our connection to ngā Atua.

Because of this we have a duty to protect and enhance the whenua for generations to come.

Māori land administrators work with land owners, trustees, whānau and the Māori Land Court to realise the cultural, social, economic and environmental aspirations for the whenua.

Why is Te Tumu Paeroa doing this?

Te Tumu Paeroa is committed to supporting Māori to achieve tino rangatiratanga over their whenua. We do this by providing education and employment opportunities for graduates from a range of backgrounds and disciplines so they can develop their skill set to support their iwi, hapū and whānau.

As the largest single provider of professional trustee services to Māori, we need a highly-skilled workforce with a passion for protecting the whenua as taonga tuku iho.

Being a Graduate at Te Tumu Paeroa

What will graduates do?

Graduates in our programme will develop transferable skills that will set them up for their future careers, wherever these may take them. They’ll get opportunities to gain first-hand experience in governance, trust administration, land-based enterprises, project management and other areas of our business, depending on their discipline. They’ll see some of the most beautiful parts of our country, and walk the whenua with owners on their journey to tino rangatiratanga.

Te Tumu Paeroa will tautoko graduates throughout our 12-month graduate development programme. They’ll have a mentor who is able to recognise their unique skills and talents through their journey into their future roles.

The purpose of the graduate position is to place candidates in teams relevant to their chosen discipline, in some instances they may rotate through key functional teams over the course of the 12 month programme to provide a broad range of experience. Rotations and placements are set depending on business need and the graduates learning and development plan. Each rotation will include a mix of on-the-job learning, in addition to work allocation typical for the area in which they rotate.

What are you looking for in a graduate?

We’re seeking a range of skills and talents that support our organisation’s values – Tōtika, Kotahitanga, Manaakitanga, and Mana.

While we’ve identified some qualifications that will support our business, we’re not limiting our programme to applicants that hold these qualifications or degrees. We’re seeking graduates who have a desire to protect and enhance whenua Māori, and have a longer-term aspiration to use their skills in service to iwi, hapū and whānau.

What career opportunities will I get?

This depends on your qualifications, performance and the roles you are placed in. We’ve mapped career pathways within our organisation and have a rigorous learning and development programme.

What’s the salary?

The salary range is starting from $50k per annum.

What are the hours?

40 hours per week, Monday – Friday. Some roles might involve evening or weekend work attending and supporting hui with owners and trustees.

Where will I be based? Where is the office?

Our graduate programme is based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington. 

Some graduates who have strong connections to a particular region may have the option to be based in one of our regional offices for all or part of their time in the programme. We’ll ask you about your connections to whenua during the application process to see if we can accommodate requests to be based in a regional office.

Some travel may be required as part of your role.

Is it a permanent or fixed term role?

This is a fixed term role for 12 months. At the completion of the programme graduates will be able to apply for a permanent position within our organisation depending on availability. We will actively work to retain talent within our organisation.

How long does the graduate programme run for?

Graduates will spend 12 months on our graduate programme.

How many graduate positions are there?

We are looking at filling a minimum of three graduate positions for the 2023 intake. We expect strong competition for these roles and encourage you to put your best foot forward during the application process.

If I am an international student can I apply for your graduate programme?

Arohamai (Sorry), our graduate programme is for New Zealand graduates only.

I still have a question, how can I contact you?

If we’ve not answered a question you have, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Do I have to travel for the interview if I make it through the selection process?

Our recruitment process will mainly be online. If you’re invited to complete a video interview you’ll need access to a computer or phone with speakers and a mic, and internet access. For shortlisted candidates there’ll be a panel interview held at our office in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington. If you are invited to our offices for an interview we’ll fly you in and out at no cost to you.

How do I apply?

Submitting an application

If you are interested in applying to be part of Taupae Pia for this year, please send your CV and a covering letter to our recruitment team.

Please include your contact details, qualifications, iwi affiliations and whenua connections (if you have them), and whether you’re able to work in New Zealand. All our graduate roles will be based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington, however, we’ll also ask if you have a preference for a regional office you’d like to be based in if possible because of your whānau connections to whenua.

CV and application form

You’ll be required to submit an up-to-date CV with your application form.


Interviews are a key part of our selection process. For our graduate positions we’ll have two stages of interviews. Not only is this a chance for us to get to know you, but you’ll be able to find out about us and see whether we’re the right fit for you too.

Competency based interviews

Our interviews are competency-based. We’ll ask you for examples of how you work in different situations. The criteria we use to assess your answers are underpinned by our organisation’s values, our competencies framework, and any role-specific or technical skills, knowledge and experience.

Offer and final checks

We’ll contact you as soon as possible to let you know whether you have been successful or not in your application.

We want your experience in this process to be a positive one. If your application is unsuccessful we’ll provide you with feedback. Shortlisted applicants will have the opportunity to talk to someone in our HR team for detailed feedback about applications.

If you’re successful we’ll make you a verbal offer, followed by a formal written offer. Our employment offers are conditional to successful references and criminal record checks being completed.