Undertow Media welcomes Māori and Pasifika Scholarship recipient

This month, Rebecca Rangihuna (Ngāti Porou) will begin a paid internship at Undertow Media, an Auckland-based independent PR agency, as part of the Undertow Media Māori & Pasifika Communications Studies Scholarship at AUT.

Currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Communications Studies degree at AUT, Rangihuna is the second recipient of the scholarship, which covers tuition fees for full-time study in Year 3 and a 12-week paid internship with Undertow Media.

Undertow Media’s Managing Director Greer Bland says offering the scholarship is the company’s way of doing something “small but tangible for the industry.”

“Our agency took a look in the mirror in 2021 and asked some questions of ourselves and the industry around inclusion, realising for the most part that communications was one-dimensional – to be honest, very white and very female, especially in the consumer brand-building space,” says Bland. 

“Māori and Pasifika cultures bring so much substance to New Zealand, and often their perspectives seemed totally absent from campaigns we see in the wild. We’re thrilled to have Rebecca join our team, and work across all of our clients over the next 12 weeks.”

Now in its third year, Undertow Media & AUT will open the next round of applications for the Undertow Media Māori & Pasifika Communications Studies Scholarship in July 2023 on the AUT Scholarship site, with a new scholarship recipient being selected in August 2023.

Commenting on the success of the scholarship, Bland credits Undertow’s Head of Communications Gina Williams-Folau.

“Gina has been pivotal to the journey and increasing our organisation’s understanding of Tikanga Māori and her own Samoan culture.

“I’ve learnt it’s easy to unconsciously make decisions based on people that look, think and act like you, but Gina has shown us the importance of hearing and seeing different viewpoints, and we have applied that to all manner of communities. 

“We realised that we were personally missing many different perspectives, and therefore opportunities, and needed more voices in the room if we were going to be able to truly provide wide reaching campaigns that resonate,” says Bland.

Bland has a longstanding connection with AUT, having completed post-graduate studies in public relations there in 2005. She hopes the Undertow Media Māori and Pasifika Communication Studies Scholarship will enable more Māori and Pasifika to view PR and communications as a viable career.

“We hope that with the help of this scholarship, the strong personalities leading the next frontier of comms represent more closely the cross-section of New Zealanders.”

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