What to expect at Taumata Arowai
Find out more about what it’s like to work at Taumata Arowai and what you can expect.
Small ‘greenfield’ start-up vibe
One of the comments you will often hear from our people is that we are a small and new organisation – we talk about it a lot – because it’s pretty novel in the public sector!
As a result of being new, our work programme is big (we have a LOT to do) and is also very dynamic. Yes, dynamic is a frequently used term here! Let’s hear from our kaimahi .
“We are busy – good busy – I think that's probably quite attractive!”
“It’s a marathon not a sprint – I like the challenge; I don’t like being bored!”
“Because we're new, it is very challenging sometimes and you really have to be confident in how you operate - you have to be quite motivated and willing to go with the flow – it’s fast moving, so not for everyone, but if you're up for the challenge, it’s a good challenge!”
Given our small size, there are lots of chances to influence things more easily.
“You don't feel like you're stuck in a big machine – rather you are an active part of it.”
“I've been in the workforce for a very long time, and I've never worked for an organisation like this - it's been an absolute revelation. I'm not saying everything's perfect because it's not, but I've never worked in an organisation where we had the opportunity to build something from scratch.” (November 2022 - kaimahi interview)
Small also means we can get together for our fortnightly Whāngaia te whānau, our all-staff forum. This forum ensures that all our people hear from our senior leadership team Kaihautū o Puni Arowai (KOPA) every time we meet, are connected to our mahi and have awareness of what is happening across the organisation and sector.
“It's a really great sense of camaraderie. A sense of working together, a sense of a common commitment and a common purpose. That really binds people, and it gives us a real strength.” (November 2022 - kaimahi interview)
But with newness comes uncertainty and ambiguity so for anyone looking for well-established business planning processes and unchanging priorities this might not be the place for you!
“Be prepared to be very flexible, work hard and be prepared to do things that may not be exactly in your job description. Be prepared to stop something you're doing and pick up something else and respond. Expect the unexpected because things change and we're a small organisation but come with an open mind and an open heart.” (November 2022 - Kaimahi interview)
“I think what was achieved standing the organisation up in the middle of a pandemic in such a short space of time is amazing. Even though it's not perfect, it was still amazing.”
Truly being flexible
One of the things we have noticed in a post-Covid world, is the push to get people ‘back into the office’ or the ‘desire’ to have staff based in certain big cities. Well not with us! We really want and need our kaimahi to be located around the motu .
There is drinking water, drinking water suppliers, councils, communities, and iwi/Māori that we work with the length and breadth of the country – and we need our people to reflect that diversity. We also know that the best people for our organisation are not necessarily conveniently located in an urban area, working five days a week!
“I like that Taumata Arowai does not discriminate based on location, and you can be part of Taumata Arowai wherever you live in the motu.”
“Being established during the pandemic meant that our systems were designed to support home working right from the start.”
From our recent Work from Home Survey (October 2022):
- 49 out of 52 employees work from home on a regular basis ranging from one day to 20 days at home across a four-week period, which is an average of two days a week from home.
“I work from home probably two days a week on average, which I really enjoy. Yeah, the flexible working is awesome! But the building in Hamilton is great so that's a great place to be based too.”
“Yesterday I was talking to my boss about holidays and leave and going back to the UK and he was like well, have you thought about this or that or the other? Be creative, we'll support you. The flexibility is amazing!"
To help with that, our Flex policy provides guidance for kaimahi and their people leader to find a way that works for all! To ensure you’re well set up we also provide you a chair, monitor, keyboard, and mouse for your home office.
“There was no question about WFH when I joined – it was supported immediately - I got a new screen, keyboard, mouse, a chair - everything to make sure that I was comfortable when working from home.”
Embracing te ao Māori
As a new Crown entity, we have been gifted an enormous amount of knowledge through our whakapapa documents (founding documents). We have high aspirations to be a strong Te Tiriti o Waitangi partner and our drive to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai is enshrined in the legislation that created us.
“What's exciting is that we're thinking about being a good Treaty Partner and how to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai right from the start of thinking about policy – that feels quite novel!"
We acknowledge we don’t know it all but are supporting our internal Te Rōpū Ārahi team and other external Māori Technical Advisors who have been instrumental in crafting our whakapapa and helping us on our journey.
“Here we speak a lot about Te Mana o te Wai, and we must explain how we are incorporating it into our mahi . For me, that speaks volumes. I would want to be a part of an organisation that follows through with upholding Te Ao Māori, with tikanga Māori and with mātauranga Māori ."
At a more personal level, we’re also developing our own personal knowledge of te ao Māori and te reo Māori. We’re pretty clear we're not experts in these areas but encourage people to give things a go, and there’s lots of opportunities to try and develop your skills (e.g., opening and closing karakia at the all-staff meetings, whakataukī themes for meetings, “Kai and kōrero” to read and discuss te ao Māori books in our office libraries, waiata group etc.) and taking external courses to upskill.
“Te reo Māori classes are led internally by staff. I think it’s really nice when it comes from staff - I think that’s been part of what’s made it more successful. I've been doing them now for about a year and a half it's really helped me.”
“Doing things like karakia at the start and end of meetings, those kinds of things really bring it to the forefront and given that’s a priority in my life, it has been something that has kept me really inspired and has kept me really engaged.”
Endless opportunities to make your own
Small is beautiful! It also gives our people lots of opportunities.
This could be learning and growing through work opportunities and professional development, as our kaimahi tell it.
“You tend to get pulled into projects that are in different teams’ scopes, and whether that is as a subject matter expert, whether that's as someone who's trialing a new system, whether that's at the start, middle, or end of a project, you kind of get insight into different parts of the organisation. And I think that's really cool because you can really make changes to see the betterment long term of the organisation. And I really enjoy being able to do that.”
“Even in the small amount of time that I've been here, I've been offered some really amazing opportunities. I'm learning something new every day! I wanted something that was challenging - I wanted to step out of my comfort zone by learning something so different to my previous role, meet new people, and it’s certainly given me that.”
“There are lots of opportunities to learn. We are really big on professional development; I think that's the key message we should get out there! There is a budget, and we are certainly well supported – it’s certainly a draw card, especially for people early in their careers.”
It involves building great relationship skills through working with many different people – either internally or externally with other agencies, water suppliers, and communities. You will have lots of opportunities to develop relationships on behalf of Taumata Arowai, again let’s hear from our kaimahi.
“I would say - come with a sense of wanting to learn and a sense of accepting that there's a lot of different points of view. But also come with a commitment to having difficult conversations. It’s from working together to find the resolution and common outcomes, that builds the relationships.”
The benefits of NEW – both office space and tech!
We were established in early 2021, with our regulatory powers coming into effect from late 2021. This means that when we were created, we were not bound by old “legacy” technology and systems. Our Azure Cloud, Power Platform and Microsoft 365 services allow you to enjoy the very best of modern computing without the hassles normally associated with 'on-premise' or legacy technology.
Being cloud-first means our kaimahi can access data, documents, and systems anywhere. Work from home or on the go, exactly as you would if you were in the office, easily and securely.
“I appreciate the high-quality technology. Everything works how they are supposed to work!”
We also have nice, new, fit for purpose, modern office spaces with great co-lab areas, privacy booths, and meeting rooms with great web conferencing tech! See Where are we located for more details.
“We have a new space, nicely fitted out collab spaces, whiteboards, lots of brand-new technology, not inheriting old cruddy things. Whilst our systems might not be perfect, that start-up vibe from a tech and space perspective is important!”
“Our office is flash - we've got a beautiful office!”
Other kaimahi benefits
Of course, we have all sorts of other benefits that you might want to know about:
- Free period products on-site through DignityNZ
- Kaimahi-led te reo Māori classes twice a week
- On-site selection of books on tikanga, te reo Māori and leadership development
- ‘Refer a friend’ employee referral scheme for recruitment
- Service recognition allowance for extra leave
- Three Taumata Arowai holiday days for use between Christmas and NY
- Ability to “purchase” up to two weeks additional leave
- Additional 10 days paid partners leave
- Additional 10 days paid special leave for a pregnant employee
- Work from home equipment to enable flexible working
- A Wellbeing Payment of $500 each year to contribute towards your hauora
- Access to a free gym (Wellington Staff)
- Employee Assistance Programme
- Learning and development opportunities
- Employee-led networks