FAQs for Organisations

How many students apply for your programme? What background do they have?

In 2018, over 160 students applied and we placed 29 students at 11 partner organisations. To apply for the programme, students must be enrolled at a New Zealand university at the time of application. International students are welcome to apply but they must ensure that accepting a place does not contravene their visa requirements. Our website contains testimonies from recent interns. Students are highly numerate with good computer and communication skills. We are happy to advertise for students with other skill sets that are useful to our partners.

When are the internships?

Interns usually work at the organisation for a ten-week period over the summer (mid-November to mid-February).

Who do you partner with?

Over the last two years we have partnered with a number of government departments and agencies, small and large businesses, and several iwi organisations.

What costs are associated with your programme?

Students are paid a stipend managed through the University of Auckland and we take an administration fee to cover our running costs and the workshops. These costs are usually covered by the partner organisation. The cost per intern this year is $8,200. Of this $7,200 goes to the student as their tax-free stipend.

Is the stipend really tax-free?

Provided it can be agreed that the primary purpose of the project will be for the student’s educational benefit rather than a benefit for the partner organisation, the student stipend is likely to be exempt from income tax. If this is not the case, for example if the organisation considers that any project IP will lie with the organisation rather than the student, then this may not be a project appropriate for our scheme.

What resources do you provide candidates with?

Interns attend a two-day workshop at the beginning of their internship covering professional skills, ethics, and an introduction to software carpentry. Students are supported by the internship programme administrator, who reports to the programme coordinator and deputy director. If required, on codeveloped projects we provide each student or student team with an academic supervisor otherwise we expect this support to be provided by the partner organisation. Through the university Te Pūnaha Matatini provides access to further resources, including high-performance computing, data storage, software, and university library access.

I hate to ask but… what if something goes wrong?

If either you, your organisation or the intern has any problems relating to the internship we would like to help. Everyone at Te Pūnaha Matatini works with students every day. Our programme administrator will be checking in with the interns regularly throughout the programme. This will encourage them to come to us with any problems so we can help before we are needed!

What happens/what do you cover at the two-day workshop you hold at the beginning of the programme?

The workshop is an opportunity for students to meet each other. There are sessions on professional skills including expectations of the partner organisations, our code of conduct, professional relationship skills, attitude and work ethic, and ethical use of data. We also run sessions on software carpentry, which introduces the core computing skills needed to be productive in a small research team.

How does your recruitment process work? Would there be scope for shortlisting to happen at your end, and interviews to be conducted by the individual partner organisations?

We advertise in July and August with a closing date in early September. We advertise with all New Zealand universities. We also use social media and our own networks. The advert provides general information on the types of projects available and short specific project descriptions on our website with partner logos etc. We also provide testimonials from previous students. We do an initial screening of candidates for their general suitability and can then either forward a short list to the partner for them to run their own selection process or make selections on the partner’s behalf. Some, but not all, organisations will choose to conduct interviews. Please note that if you choose this option there is a very tight turnaround time for selections, usually about two weeks in the middle of September. Once partners have agreed on preferred candidates we finalise the selection, allocate candidates to placements and inform students of the outcome of their application.

Could we use just your recruiting services?

The Te Pūnaha Matatini summer internship programme’s primary purpose is skills development and exposure to data science jobs for the students we place; therefore we cannot just operate as a recruitment tool for you.

Can students express a preference for our specific project in the application process?

Yes, we give candidates an opportunity to express a preference for a particular organisation or project in their application.

What makes a successful placement? 10 weeks is a very short period!

A successful project has clear goals and is well-prepared before it starts. Any data required should be sourced before the start of the project. All our researchers have a lot of experience getting the most from these short projects so working closely with them will help ensure this happens.

How can we get our project included in your programme?

For co-developed projects the first step is to establish a relationship with one of our researchers to work with you to develop a successful project. A full list of researchers is on our website. Alternatively, contact our deputy director, industry and stakeholder engagement (Alex James) for help with building a relationship. Before a project can be included we need to have a signed contract in place through our programme coordinator (Kathryn Morgan). This covers finances, IP agreements, contact person etc. We also require a project description, a list of specific skills the intern needs, the name of the industry supervisor, and academic supervisor if co-developed, and any other project specifics.

What if we have an intern project that may take more than 10 weeks?

We can help with that. Please contact our deputy director Alex James for more information.

Who can we contact for more information before we can commit to the programme?

Our deputy director Alex James or our programme coordinator Kathryn Morgan.


Timeline 2019-20


  • Jul/Aug – deadline for projects to be included on the website. Contracts must be in place by this point.
  • Jul/Aug – project information on website and applications open
  • 6 Sep – applications close
  • 23 Sep – shortlists to project leaders
  • 4 Oct – project leaders return preferences
  • 14 Oct – inform first choice candidates
  • 21-22 Nov – training days
  • 25 Nov – first placement day
  • 13 Feb – last placement day
  • 14 Feb – intern feedback workshop