28 November 2022

TupuToa interns – welcome to the FMA

TupuToa interns group picture

L to R: Kavi Gounder, TupuToa Navigators Ihipera Happy and Telayna Tapene-Maoate, Hope Parsons, Tijuanna Falepeau, Sharon Louie, Jackson Scanlan. Front row: Sheye Semple, Brianne Leef.

Nau mai haere mai - welcome to our TupuToa interns for 2023!  

The FMA has welcomed eight new interns who will be working full-time with us over the university summer break until March 2023. 

The TupuToa Internship Programme is an employment pathway providing professional opportunities for Māori and Pacific tertiary students in corporate, government and community organisations. 

Kavi Gounder, Sheye Semple, Jackson Scanlan, Brianne Leef and Hope Parsons will join teams in our Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland office. Sharon Louie, though not part of TupuToa, will also intern for us in Auckland. 

And joining us in Te Whanganui a Tara – Wellington will be Ella Rooney and Tijuanna Falepeau. 

FMA Chief Executive Samantha Barrass said she was delighted to have Tupu Toa interns join the FMA over summer and excited about the success of the programme.  “While the interns will gain valuable work experience, the FMA benefits from their perspectives and backgrounds.   

“These young people bring fresh insights, they have new ideas and can help us challenge our ways of thinking. We learn as much – if not more - from the relationship, as they learn from us.” 

TupuToa organises 12-week paid-internships for tertiary students with the opportunity for the internship to convert into fulltime employment once interns have graduated.    

At a whakatau in Auckland earlier this month to welcome our latest TupuToa intake to the FMA, Paul Gregory, director of Investment Management, told the new interns that the FMA was a place where they could have real impact.  

"What we do at the FMA helps people make better decisions for themselves, their whānau and in some cases, the generations who follow them.”  

Find out more about TupuToa here https://tuputoa.org.nz/  

And a warm welcome to:  

Image of Brianne LeefBrianne Leef (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Pūkenga) 

Born in New Zealand, Brianne moved to England when she was two to be closer with her mother’s side of the family. Based in Warwickshire, she lived for a spell in Warwick, home of the famous Warwick Castle built by William the Conqueror. 

In 2014, she moved back to reconnect with her father’s side of the family and in 2020 she embarked on a Bachelor of Science majoring in Analytics and minoring in Applied Mathematics. During her studies Brianne participated in the NZ Science Competition and the “We The Women Hackfest” where her team developed an educational curriculum to challenge sexism in children. “This was a really great experience as everyone was so willing to work together". 

Brianne hopes her time working with the Banking and Insurance Conduct team will give her a better understanding of how she can use her degree in the workplace. “I’ve already seen things that I learned about at Uni which gives me confidence that this will be a great experience for me”. 

While Brianne is still contemplating where she wants her career to go, she is clear on one thing – “I want to be a ladder and bring people up. I want to help and support those that come after me to thrive”. 


Hope Parsons Image of Hope Parson

At the tender age of 22, Hope has already accumulated quite the resume. Not only has she been a law tutor and resident advisor at the University of Auckland and Auckland City Council lifeguard, Hope has also been a Senate Gallery Assistant in Washington DC. “Basically, I guided the public who came to visit the Senate as well as assisting Senators. I worked through some interesting events - the Brett Kavanaugh Confirmation hearing, which was a really intense 30-hour shift, as well as the deaths of John McCain and George Bush Sr.” 

Born and raised in Virginia, Hope left her parents to come to New Zealand in 2019. She enrolled in a conjoint Law and Commerce degrees specialising in Economics and International Business at the University of Auckland and is connecting with her Cook Islands and Samoan culture. “Most of my family is here, but my parents are still in Virginia. I haven’t seen them in three years because of Covid so I can’t wait to see them when I go back next month for a visit”. 

Hope is excited for the opportunities this internship will bring. “I want to develop confidence and leadership skills in a corporate environment as well as put what I learnt at Uni into practice”. 

Hope also wants to support Māori and Pacific communities and is looking forward to researching the Māori and Pasifika consumer market and ways the FMA can support MPI financial advisers as part of her role working with the Financial Advice team. 


Image of Kavi GounderKavi Gounder 

Kavi has joined our Investment Management team at the FMA and while the experience has been a little bit of a culture shift, he’s looking forward to where the experience can take him. “Coming to a corporate environment is a little bit weird but I’m looking forward to improving my investment management skills and taking advantage of this opportunity”. Having studied a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law and Taxation at the University of Auckland, Kavi is more than up for the challenge. 

Kavi is of Fijian and Indian descent but born and raised in Avondale and his family plays a huge role in his life. “I’m a big family guy and love spending time with them. My grandparents live in Fiji, and I hope I get the chance to visit them again soon”. 

To unwind, Kavi turns to music, specifically song writing. “I play the keyboard and like to create beats. I write Hip Hop or RnB songs mainly”. When he’s not writing songs, Kavi likes to relax and watch TV. “I’ve recently started watching The Simpsons from the start, the first few seasons were critically acclaimed so it’s been interesting to go back to the beginning.” 


Image of Sheye SempleSheye Semple (Te Rarawa) 

Sheye has packed a lot into her life so far. Hailing from a sporty family, Sheye dabbles in a number of sports including touch, tag and basketball. But it’s netball where her true passion lies. She played representative netball for Waitakere and for the last eleven years she’s played for the Grand Masters club in West Auckland, where she currently plays in the Premiere Netball League.  

Due to graduate next year with a Bachelor of Law and Arts majoring in Māori Studies and Criminology, Sheye was a little hesitant about a role in financial regulation. “I hadn’t really thought about it as an option because I wasn’t familiar with the FMA and that this was a possible pathway. But the more I learned about it, the more I understood that this could improve my knowledge of financial regulation and financial law and that I could help other people increase their knowledge too, especially Māori and Pasifika”. 

Sheye’s heritage is Māori and Samoan. Her iwi, Te Rarawa, is from Pawarenga near the Hokianga in the far north and the Samoan side of her family descends from the village of Lufilufi on Upolu Island.  

Sheye also loves to cook. “If I hadn’t gone to university to do my degree, I would have gone to culinary school. My favourite thing to cook is a seafood boil. I haven’t perfected it yet, but I love to make it.” 

Sheye joins the Enforcement team in Auckland.


Jackson Scanlan (Ngati Tama) 

A second knee injury put an end to Jackson’s promising sports career. “I was 13 and probably got a little bit cocky in the seven’s game I was playing as I hadn’t been caught in a while, so I slowed down approaching the line. I didn’t see this guy and he jumped on my back and my leg hyperextended and that was that.” His injuries haven’t dulled his love for sport though, and he plays social netball and is a supporter of the mighty Toa Samoa (Samoan rugby league team). 

Jackson is studying a Bachelor of Business majoring in Finance and Accounting, and this is not his first internship. He’s spent time working at SkyCity Entertainment Group with their finance team and is looking forward to his FMA experience. “Firstly, experience is a big thing, it’s great to add to my CV. But I also enjoy making new connections and meeting new people”. 

Jackson grew up in Grey Lynn and has both Māori and Samoan heritage with his family coming from Taranaki, and Fale'ula and Vaiusu villages in Samoa. When he’s not working, he likes to unwind playing video games. “I’m a big Call of Duty fan and I also like NBA 2K.” 

Jackson is joining the Financial Advice team in Auckland.


Image of Ella RooneyElla Rooney 

Academia is a family affair for Ella. She’s embarked on a Bachelor of Law and Arts degree choosing Otago University in her hometown of Dunedin… along with 15 members of her extended family. “On campus I see someone I’m related to everywhere I turn. My brother has started, along with cousins from Auckland and Samoa. And next year, four more will start.”  

Ella loves sports and has played hockey for premier clubs for nine years. She also plays volleyball and after seeing a gap in the market, decided to start her own club. “It’s been pretty stressful. The other clubs in Dunedin were a bit cliquey and hard to get into so thought I’d start my own. I didn’t expect it to be so popular and we had 70 people turn up to training.” The club had a successful first season fielding two competition teams and eight social teams. She’s hoping to get a couple more coaches on board to help her and her brother out for next season. 

Ella is excited for her internship at the FMA and her role within our Compliance Team. “It’s cool to be getting experience in a field I’ve never done or even heard of before now. I hope to learn about what’s involved in licensing and why it’s important”. 

As for the future, Ella’s keeping her options open. She has ambitions to travel but hopes to settle in New Zealand with a job she really enjoys. 


Image of Tijuana FalepeauTijuanna  Falepeau 

Tijuanna likes to keep herself busy. She’s completed not one, but two degrees (Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts) at the same time as working in a variety of roles from English Tutor to Legal Admin and as wait staff. But that’s not all, Tijuanna was the Academic Officer for PILSA Executive 2022 (Pacific Island Law Students’ Association), as well as being Arts+ student mentor for first year Arts students and a PILSA mentor for first year Pasifika law students at the University of Auckland in 2021 and 2022. And, she shows no signs of slowing down. 

Graduating in May, Tijuanna is looking forward to beginning her career and her time here at the FMA. “I’m looking forward to growing and learning as much as I can as well as networking.” As a young Pasifika individual, Tijuanna wants to encourage Pasifika youth to apply for roles in the public sector and encourage further Pasifika representation in New Zealand’s legal sector.   

Born in New Zealand, Tijuanna’s family is from Niue. Her parents moved here in 1999 and settled in Auckland. The opportunity to intern for the Corporate Legal team at the FMA has meant a move south to Wellington. “It’s my first time living away from home but I’m looking forward to site sightseeing and checking out all the coffee shops, restaurants and hiking trails”.  

It’s also meant leaving her large book collection at home in Auckland. “When I’m not studying or working, I like to read. I read mainly thrillers and fantasy. I also enjoy watching a good series.” 


Image of Sharon LouieSharon Louie  

Sharon Louie is working towards her Master of Commerce in Economics and writing her thesis titled the Doom Loop – Sovereign debt crises and how they affect bank crises, and vice versa, but she also loves going places. 

Having travelled to over 30 countries, Sharon rates Austria, Singapore and Aruba as her top three international destinations. She also enjoys domestic travel and has fond memories of a family trip to Mt Cook and walking Hooker Valley trail. “It was a little slippery, but definitely recommend doing this walk in July. It’s beautiful with all the snow which makes the lakes look extra blue”. 

A self-confessed fitness fanatic, you’ll find Sharon working out after work most days or walking her 10-year-old Maltese dog, Summer. 

Sharon’s long-term goal is finding employment in financial services and is particularly interested in the regulation side of things. But not before she’s enjoyed a quick relaxing post-internship break to Bali and completing her thesis next year.