Naomi Manu

Rangitāne, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa

The passion that Naomi Manu LLB has exhibited for Māori development has led her to take roles in the public sector, from consulting with Kahui Tautoko to establishing the Pūhoro STEM Academy at Massey University.

Naomi is value-driven and passionate about Māori development. As the founder of Pūhoro, she seeks to advance outcomes for Māori through participation and success in STEM. Her work at Pūhoro contributed to its growth into the world's most comprehensive indigenous STEM programme. Pūhoro has spread from the Manawatū, Horowhenua, to Te Taitokerau, Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Christchurch and South Auckland, with over 1,500 students across years 11-13.

Before this programme, 75% of Māori rangatahi were not on an academic pathway. Now, not only are they on an academic pathway, but they are exceeding expectations around their capability. Pūhoro connects its students with scholarships, internships, industry opportunities and employment to ensure students reach their potential in STEM. Māori currently make up just 2% of the STEM workforce in Aotearoa. Naomi's focus at Pūhoro was to change this by removing barriers, forging new pathways and building networks through a by Māori, for Māori, with Māori approach.

Pūhoro has been recognised on an international scale, winning the international engineering-and-technology award for the most forward-thinking equality, diversity and inclusion programme in engineering and tech. Pūhoro works with young Māori students to increase engagement in science, technology, engineering, maths and mātauranga.

In 2018, Naomi was a finalist in the Diversity category for the NZ Women of Influence Awards. Naomi is passionate about rangatahi development, particularly creating opportunities for rangatahi Māori to enhance their knowledge-creation skills. Naomi previously worked as a social sector researcher at Kāhui Tautoko Consulting Limited and held numerous senior advisory roles across multiple government agencies. Naomi was the principal investigator within numerous local and nationwide research projects, including Youth Guarantee, Whānau Ora provision and Māori language revitalisation.

Having successfully established Puhoro, Naomi has transitioned to work with Auraki Group Limited to address workforce development gaps beyond those that the Pūhoro kaupapa was designed to address. Auraki launched the Poipoia Data Apprenticeship (Poipoia) programme in May 2023. Poipoia is a six-month work-integrated learning programme that prioritises a tirohanga Māori approach to data analytics. Poipoia seeks to build data analytics capability in a way that ensures a positive collision between technical data capability and Māori and iwi world views.

Naomi established the Poipoia framework and delivery model and volunteers her time to address Māori data workforce shortages via the Poipoia kaupapa. The Poipoia framework derives from the whakatauki Poipoia te kākano kia puawai and represents each apprentice as they progress through the growth cycle from seed to bloom.

Data analytics capability is essential for Māori because it helps access and interpret data in a way that promotes Māori values and perspectives. Local iwi and Māori organisations are better positioned to make informed decisions and enhance ways in which they can understand and address social, economic and environmental issues affecting their people.

Links:

Pūhoro's mahi with students recognised internationally

Director of Pūhoro STEM Academy - Naomi Manu

The Massey Science Academy - Naomi Manu

Poipoia Māori Data Apprenticeships

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