Capacity Building

One of Motu’s founding motivations is capacity building. We remain committed to improving the quality of economic research. Public policy in a democracy is built on a complex base of political forces, judgement and ideology. Understanding the facts and analysing the economic forces at work can make a difference in ensuring that policy will work for the long-run wellbeing of Aotearoa New Zealand. Our distinctive contribution to the public policy environment of this country comes from an emphasis on sound empirical analysis, which is supported by expertise in and knowledge of economic theory and institutional design.

Scholarship for Rangitahi Māori

The Motu Quantitative Economics Āheitanga Scholarship is just the first step that Motu offers in its pathway to a profession in economics. Each year we offer eight $1,000 scholarships (one for each NZ university) to a student of Māori descent who intends to study economics and is planning to enrol in a second year econometrics course, or equivalent quantitative economics course.


Motu offers paid summer internships. This internship programme is designed to apply and extend students’ empirical skills and assist with their development as researchers. Its underlying aim is to build research capability, improving the skills of young researchers and the quality of New Zealand research. Motu interns work on research projects led by one of the Senior Fellows, and are encouraged to think critically about the public policy and research issues involved. Internships build students’ skills, as well as providing our researchers with useful research assistance. Ultimately, we hope our interns will be better equipped to consider a career in research or public policy analysis.

Summer internships are paid full-time positions that usually run for 8-12 weeks between November and February at our Wellington office. 43 young researchers have ‘graduated’ from this programme since 2000.

Sir Frank Holmes Scholarship

The purpose of this prize is to encourage top quantitative economics student to further their studies in econometrics at graduate level. The prize will be awarded to the top student in NZ, who is moving on to honours or masters level studies in economics, including econometrics. The prize is not open for applications and is decided through nominations by university lecturers.

Research Analysts

Motu offers salaried positions to smart and motivated Honours and Masters graduates. While other grad positions involve fulfilling tasks for their seniors, Motu research analysts are encouraged to develop their own analytical skills, and author papers alongside senior fellows. The role also provides opportunities for Motu researchers to further their own training. Motu has now employed 35 research analysts who have moved on to other roles. We usually have a strong cohort of between four and six bright young things working on a wide variety of topics.

Further study and future work

Five research analysts that Motu has employed have gone on to complete economics PhDs from top international graduate schools, and seven more are currently studying towards their doctorates. These Motu alumni are supported by a scholarship from Motu. In the last few years, three of Motu’s research analysts have left for PhD studies – one to the University of Cambridge, one to Northwestern University, and one to the University of Chicago. One of the PhD graduates – Isabelle Sin – returned to Aotearoa after finishing her doctorate at Stanford and is now a Fellow at Motu.

Other former research analysts and interns have moved into Government work and taken up senior roles at the World Bank, Treasury, the Interim Climate Change Commission, Oranga Tamariki, and other government departments.

Beyond the āheitanga programme, Motu Senior Fellows teach university courses and supervise thesis students.