Massey University - Closer than you Think!
Venture Taranaki has partnered with Massey University since 2012 to help Taranaki businesses and industry sectors access Massey University’s expertise, knowledge and innovation when looking to innovate. Not only can Venture Taranaki help support Taranaki businesses in gaining access to Massey’s expert team for information or research and development expertise, but we also have strong ties with capable students who can be engaged for internships or jobs in Taranaki.
The partnership builds on the long association Massey University has with Taranaki and aims to expand longstanding research, teaching, and alumni connections between Massey, Taranaki’s business sector, and wider communities.
The economic drivers for Taranaki are also amongst Massey’s strengths – food, agriculture, horticulture, engineering, and sustainability. With Massey’s drive to support innovation and to work on some of the big challenges for New Zealand, it’s an exceptionally good fit.
We have a Massey University staff member based in the Venture Taranaki office. She is here to help Taranaki organisations identify opportunities where the University’s faculties, staff and research centres can be of assistance.
Megan Palmer at Fonterra Brands, Eltham
Megan's summer internship at Fonterra Brand’s Bridge Street Eltham operation, complemented her studies towards a Bachelor of Food Technology (Hons).
Over a summer Megan worked on a range of tasks, working with Lead Cheese Maker, Cathy Lang, on new product development, on the cheese manufacturing floor and packing room, analysing cheese variability and working on SOPs in preparation for audit. Megan said, "working alongside professional food technologists was a really great learning opportunity that allowed me to get a better idea of how commercial projects operate and the role of a food technologist within that."
Andrew Boot at Lonza
Andrew completed his Bachelor of Agricultural Science majoring in Horticulture at Massey University, Palmerston North at the end of 2019.
Alan Wells, Andrew’s supervisor, was pleased to note how much further Andrew’s crop and weed identification knowledge grew. At the same time, he worked with them over the summer – something only time in the field (literally) could provide. Data collected by Andrew has assisted the development of new products Lonza have worked on. Andrew moved on to an exciting role in R&D around new-to-NZ crops for a Taranaki-based new start-up enterprise prior to returning to Massey to study for his Master's degree in 2023.
Emma Muir at Van Dyck Fine Foods Ltd
Megan O'Reilly, Research & Development Manager at Van Dyck Fine Foods Ltd, New Plymouth thought laterally and enlisted Emma Muir, a second year Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering) student to help them with their summer project work.
Emma found it rewarding to work with the R&D Manager, and to be involved with factory trials. From Megan’s perspective, she was able to reflect that VDFF were able to obtain a better understanding of some influences on manufacturing to adjust documentation to prevent gaps in their data, providing ongoing benefits for the organisation. Constantly creating new flavour rotates, Megan said she appreciated the new ideas and feedback students provided, while also lending valuable assistance in preparing benchtop samples and sourcing ingredients, while learning and having fun in the process.
Alton Gondipon at Armatec Environmental Ltd
Catherine Taiapa, R&D Manager at Armatec Environmental Ltd, New Plymouth, found she was able to put final year Bachelor of Agribusiness student Alton’s passion for contributing to Taranaki’s transition to a low carbon economy to good use. She deployed Alton to a summer project involving anaerobic digestion technologies. Alton says: “The ability to witness the everyday achievements of the team was very fulfilling, something that is challenging to witness in a large business environment.
My time at Armatec also taught me to be resilient and to never be afraid of taking risks. In a changing global economy, the ability to take risks to adapt to change is critical more than ever in order to achieve our region's 2050 vision. As someone who aspires to run my own business in the future, the internship provided me with valuable insights on the day to day operations of a small business”.
Sarah Yu at DIALOG Fitzroy
Sarah Yu, who was studying a Graduate Diploma in Arts (Environmental Studies) at Massey Palmerston North, had been involved in implementing Environmental Management Systems aligned with ISO 14001 Standards and other related work experience and studies in Hong Kong, so had strong capabilities as an environmental advisor. Sarah said that she learnt a lot from her team at DIALOG Fitzroy, and that she found her manager, colleagues, and other friends and associates she met while in Taranaki to be really helpful in terms of both her work and personal life, taking the confusion away from being new to Taranaki.
Euan Jones at First Gas Ltd
Euan worked for First Gas Ltd in his summer internship following his third year of studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), majoring in Mechatronics. He put his research skills to good use helping to reduce the risk on one of their highest-risk activities, with ongoing benefits to First Gas. Highlights for Euan were the opportunity to work within a project team, a friendly work environment, excellent mentoring in terms of developing both technical and project management skills and great contacts in industry to whom he can refer when progressing his career.
Tash Kui-Snowball at Begin Distilling
Tash completed her third year of studies towards a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) majoring in Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering and then made a beeline back to New Plymouth, for an extended-duration internship at Begin Distilling as part of her study programme.
One of Tash’s R&D projects entailed her experimenting with a range of brewing methods to find a way to produce a high quality alcohol base from product ‘seconds’ that were being discarded as waste from a Taranaki food producer. 10 weeks of Tash’s extended internship was funded by a Callaghan Innovation R&D Experience internship grant. LA Alexander Trust, noting Tash’s contribution to our emerging food and beverage sector, stepped in and also supported her internship, providing funding for a further five weeks.
Shikeale Harris at Begin Distilling-Massey University
Shikeale completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with a double major in Chemistry and Biochemistry which was fortunate. Fortunate for the Begin Distilling-Massey University team who are collaborating on a project exploring the opportunity to emerge a New Zealand-grown juniper industry. Her work on testing juniper berries over summer resulted in her making some interesting findings regarding the volatiles present in NZ-grown junipers. While Shikeale has taken up a great role with Fonterra Palmerston North, she left a legacy to the juniper project which has informed further research. Shikeale’s summer internship was given generous support by LA Alexander Trust and contributed to a project supported by AGMARDT funding.
Rebekah Fitz Patrick at South Taranaki District Council
Rebekah, a first-year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) student at Massey University, Palmerston North, majoring in Mechatronics assessed the wastewater pump stations across the district, which involved sleuthing in records, visiting sites with the site technicians and producing site visit reports for each site.
Her South Taranaki District Council, supervisor, said that the assessments made by Rebekah helped them immensely with their condition assessments, valuation records and forward works planning, going even further to say that: "The work Rebekah did was top-quality and what I would have expected from a degree-qualified mechanical engineer with several years’ experience."
Georgina Maud at Osflo Fertiliser Ltd
Georgina worked at Osflo Fertiliser Ltd in Taranaki over summer while also finishing her Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) via distance learning.
Initially she worked on a variety of desktop research papers to validate the various nutrient, agricultural and environmental benefits of Osflo fertiliser products, then, with the help and support of the Osflo team, set about establishing a series of trials to replicate her findings. Once the internship came to an end, Osflo offered Georgina an ongoing full-time position.
Sam Powick at Hiringa Energy
Sam Powick had just completed a Bachelor of Science when he was recruited to work on R&D project work for Hiringa Energy. With a keen appetite for further learning, and seriously interested in research, Sam worked on a Masters project exploring the potential of a catalytic agent in the clean production of hydrogen. A Hiringa-Massey University collaboration sought funding for the project from the Energy Education Trust of New Zealand (EETNZ) and they supported the project over two years. Working at a real-world intersection between pure chemistry and engineering, Sam delivered on several fronts. He completed an exciting applied research project, successfully completed his Masters at the same time, and also regularly updated EETNZ with very professional reports regarding the project progress and findings.