Takura Matenga: the real deal on agency life at Aruga

Two women standing together

5 minutes read

As the inaugural recipient of the Rumbletown Pathways Scholarship, QUT Business School student Takura Matenga kicked off her 16-week paid placement at Aruga, working across public relations, content and social media. Here’s her take on agency life.


I’m humbled to be the first recipient of the Rumbletown Pathways Scholarship to promote diversity in the AMPR industry and enable me to have hands-on experience in different creative agencies.

I began my journey at Aruga, a PR, content and social media agency in Brisbane’s West End. My prior knowledge of the PR industry meant I thought I’d be involved in crisis management, such as helping hapless Aussie celebs avoid association with scandalous stories.

However, my experience was completely different to my expectations in the best possible way.

Over my four weeks at Aruga, I gained valuable experience in PR, marketing and communications. My day-to-day tasks were just as varied; from compiling monthly campaign reports and assisting on a First Nations fashion shoot to brainstorming TikTok content and creating media lists for launch events.

I even weathered a week-long lockdown in Brisbane, swapping the office to work from home and communicating with my new colleagues via video.

Working at an independent agency, I was looking forward to getting to know Aruga’s founders, so it was a highlight to work directly with them. I saw co-founders Donna and Adam in the office daily and often had chats with them over lunch.

Their approachable leadership style set the tone for the whole office. I instantly fell in love with the vibe of Aruga headquarters from the open floorplan to the ‘dress for your day’ office dress code.

I jumped straight in, thanks to my buddy, Anna (pictured above), who organised my weekly workload and was my go-to for all things Aruga. It wasn’t long before I was familiar with everyone’s names and had settled in nicely.

Forget fetching coffee and taking notes – I was involved in hands-on and meaningful tasks across PR, marketing and social media. I assisted with monthly and end-of-campaign client reports, developed eDMs and media lists and helped to edit project case studies.

I also had the opportunity to attend in-house social media 101 training, developed social media calendars and TikTok content, wrote blog articles and assisted on a fashion photoshoot.

Within four weeks, what I learnt at Aruga went far beyond the work itself. I learnt about the fast-paced agency environment, the best places to eat in West End and the unique PR lingo.

I was also exposed to a variety of Aruga’s clients across different industries such as Foot Locker New Zealand, EDQ Northshore, Gimmie, Brisbane Festival, Tourism Whitsundays, La Boite Theatre, Brisbane Comedy Festival, In My Honest Opinion, Hotel X, Halcyon, PUNQ, The Box/d Society and The Spaghetti House Trattoria.

Did I mention I was led by some incredible women? I witnessed the strength of Aruga’s teamwork firsthand and loved the transparency the co-founders provided to the team.

During my second week at Aruga, Brisbane went into lockdown. I went from the office hustle and bustle to working from home, swapping team chats to listening to my neighbours’ daily conversations about whose turn it was to clean the dishes.

While this wasn’t my first WFH experience, I found my biggest challenge was staying motivated. It helped to stay in constant communication with the team via Teams and Anna was on hand for advice on staying productive during lockdown.

I was trusted to manage my workload, which I enjoyed, and was able to experience both the flexibility of WFH and working in the office.

I was also able to overcome my imposter syndrome about creative writing. As a final year uni student, I found it challenging to switch from academic writing to creative writing and was worried my skills might not be up to Aruga standard.

By actively seeking feedback about my writing, I found my fears were unfounded and I was delighted to see my blog post live on the In My Honest Opinion (IMHO) website.

Standout moments at Aruga included creating a media list of New Zealand influencers for the launch of a new Foot Locker store, as well as sharing my internship experience with my university network via an Instagram Story takeover and sourcing two Rumbletown experts for an upcoming AMPed panel event.

At Aruga, I never felt like an intern and was welcomed as a member of the team. I’m thankful to have gained industry experience from such a talented bunch of people and excited to continue my learning journey at Rumbletown.

Takura’s tips for first-time interns:

  1. Go into your internship with an open mind and a willingness to learn anything and everything.
  2. Ask a lot of questions. Every question I had (big or small) was answered in great detail and people were very generous with their time – I even asked people to lunch to learn more. The biggest question to ask? Ask for feedback.
  3. Have a notebook and pen. It sounds simple, but it was so useful. I used the notebook to jot down everyone’s name, write notes when being briefed on tasks and create my daily to-do list.
  4. Don’t be afraid to check in with account leads when working on tasks. I often did this before completing tasks to communicate and ensure I was on the right track.
  5. Send your work buddy a weekly wrap-up. This tip might be a little OTT, but I found it helped to reflect on what worked well and what didn’t. It was also a great way to let my buddy know what I was keen to work on.
Learn more about our Rumbletown Pathways Scholarship Program, a trailblazing initiative to open doors for diversity and inclusion within the advertising, digital, media and communications industries in Australia.