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Willis Towers Watson celebrates a joint internship programme with Waikato Tainui for young Maori people in New Zealand

On 24 November, Willis Towers Watson was invited as an honoured guest to the Annual Poukai of Te Awamaarahi Marae. In the presence of the Maori King, Kiingi Tuheitia, the Poukai celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Marae’s founding in 1941. The Marae is part of the Waikato Tainui Iwi, with whom Willis Towers Watson has had the privilege of being a long-term insurance and risk partner.

During the Poukai various members of the tribe swore allegiance to the King and expressed their admiration for his leadership of the Maori in New Zealand. A key part of the celebration was the awarding of commendations to members of the Marae for services rendered – and Willis Towers Watson was pleased to be intimately involved in the celebration of the award to JJ Cootes.

JJ is the first recipient under the Waikato Tainui and Willis Towers Watson internship programme and was given her award by the King. The internship is a 15-month programme designed by Willis Towers Watson, to encourage young Maori people to join the insurance industry as a career pathway. Willis Towers Watson thanks Chubb New Zealand and AMP for their support of the programme.

A spokesman for Waikato Tainui thanked Willis Towers Watson CEO of New Zealand Peter Lowe, and Account Director Vedi Angjelinovic for their leadership in providing internships to Maori people and for encouraging diversity by working with Waikato Tainui in developing culturally sensitive programmes in the workplace.

Mr Lowe said that it was a privilege to be an honoured guest of the King during the celebration and to be invited onto the Marae to witness such an historic event. “We couldn’t be more pleased with having JJ as the inaugural recipient of the Waikato Tainui and Willis Towers Watson internship and can advise that she has conducted herself in a manner that would make her Iwi proud,” he said. “Willis Towers Watson looks forward to continuing our involvement with Waikato Tainui and the internships into the future.”