Ngahuia Harrison

Ngahuia Harrison's studies have landed her the work experience opportunity of a lifetime.

The AUT student, who's in her first year of PhD studies, has been offered an internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

She found the role through AUT's InterNZ programme, which invites students to apply for internships across New Zealand and the US.

The internship is a nine-week placement as a curatorial and research intern working with the Met's curator for Oceanic art, Dr Maia Nuku. Harrison says the placement was a perfect fit for her, and she's keen to see how the museum cares for its collections in a different cultural context.

"I'm really interested to see how they deal with things that aren't theirs. I don't think that an institution like the Met is unaware of [the cultural relationship], it's something they would have to think about constantly about most of their collections."

Harrison's excited as both a Maori and New Zealander to have been placed in a department that has a large collection of taonga, and says it's great that the Oceanic curator is also Maori.

"I can't imagine these collections ever coming home so having someone there who has that connection, they have that sensitivity."

Harrison has ties to the Ngatiwai and Ngapuhi iwi, and is focusing her PhD on the preservation of Ngatiwai's tribal korero, mana whenua and mana moana.

"I've been interested for a long time in the relationship people have had, historically and now, with water. Indigenous research being undertaken by indigenous people is really important to me. It's important that we have this information collected."

The internship marks the beginning of a busy year for Harrison, as she's also preparing for an exhibit in Dunedin when she returns to New Zealand.

(Article republished from New York's Met museum offers internship to AUT student)