A $10,000 Fellowship awarded today will help a Bluff teenager fight to achieve his dreams of supporting young Māori and Pasifika in his community.
Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation announced Izaya “Izzy” Simeon as the recipient for the third annual Antony Welton Fellowship.
Izzy, a 19-year-old Motupōhue/Bluff local, aspires to be a boxing coach, and is passionate about supporting Māori and Pasifika young people to achieve their goals.
Southern Queens Boxing offers a “safe and positive environment” for Izzy, and he wanted to give back to the community the same way his coach, Faliu Mauu, does.
“I wish to empower Māori and Pasifika and shape the way they embrace learning and combat hardship while being proud of where they come from.”
A haerenga (journey) to explore his whakapapa is one of the first goals Izzy hopes to achieve, and he plans to shadow his boxing coach to learn the ropes, and eventually train rangatahi to overcome barriers in their lives through boxing.
Mauu says Izzy is someone she can really rely on in the gym and is always there to help out.
“He has made amazing changes in his life in the past 18 months. Izzy is definitely going to be a top-notch coach and I’m honoured to help him achieve that goal.”
The news of receiving the Fellowship has inspired Izzy to get started straight away, attending training this week with a new purpose, he says.
“I am so grateful to be receiving this volume of support! This belief in me has inspired me even further to push towards my goals and I can’t wait to start ticking them off.”
The Antony Welton Fellowship provides one young person each year with $10,000 to awhi (support) them towards their vision for the future. The Fellowship was formed in 2021 when, after 12 years, Antony Welton stepped down from his role as the Chair of One New Zealand Foundation (then the Vodafone NZ Foundation). In honour of his dedicated contributions and commitment to improving outcomes for rangatahi, the Antony Welton Fellowship was established with the support of One New Zealand and CEO Jason Paris who grew up in Invercargill.
The Fellowship is aligned to Te Rourou’s continued investment into the Invercargill Initiative and supporting local rangatahi to thrive.
Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation is excited to assist our rakatahi Māori panel in reopening Te Ōhaka Tīwhera, a fund designed to support the aspirations of Māori youth throughout Murihiku Southland.
The panel consists of eight rakatahi who have designed the fund and will be making decisions on where the funds should be distributed to best support their peers.
After the previous two rounds, comprising over $240,000 in grants, the panel have adapted the fund to reflect their learnings. Te Ōhaka Tīwhera is now a rolling fund and decisions will be made on a 6-weekly basis over the period of 22 September 2023 to 29 February 2024.
“One change we love is that the rakatahi have decided to start using the Kāi Tahu dialect for the fund, as it better represents their culture in Murihiku,” Te Rourou Community Catalyst Stac Hughes says. “So, we now refer to rakatahi Māori, instead of rangatahi Māori, for example.”
“The panel has also split the funds into different pools, which contribute to the overall goal of creating an equitable community for our young people. This shows how they have taken the fund and made it their own.”
The fund is proudly supported by Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation in partnership with Community Trust South, the Invercargill Licensing Trust Foundation, the Invercargill Licensing Trust, and Clare Foundation, who collectively believe rakatahi Māori are best placed to understand their own needs for support and cultural connection.
The categories of funding are:
Visiting Your Pepeha Fund
Individual grants of $2,000 available to financially support recipients to visit where they whakapapa to. Funds can be used towards travel, accommodation, food, koha, and taking a support person for the journey. Applications are open to rakatahi Māori aged 15-20, residing in Murihiku, who have whakapapa connections outside of the Otago/Southland regions.
Rakatahi-Led: Innovation in Schools
This fund gives rakatahi the chance to create projects, events, or initiatives that connect rakatahi to te ao Māori within their kura (school). The rakatahi said they wanted to see more rakatahi-led initiatives and were excited to offer each of the Invercargill high-schools up to $5,000 to support rakatahi initiatives.
Te Ōhaka Tīwhera – Contestable Fund
For the larger contestable fund, the rakatahi are looking for creative and innovative projects or initiatives that support rakatahi to connect with te ao Māori. This could be through the arts, sport and recreation, education / learning, hui, events or wānaka. They are also looking to support initiatives that encourage the use of tikaka and te reo Māori in the community. Applications of up to $15,000 are welcome.
Applicants for the rakatahi-led and contestable funds will be invited to pitch their project or initiative to the Te Ōhaka Tīwhera decision makers at one of their 6-weekly meetings.
In 2019 Te Rourou worked on a temporary mural which was placed in the heart of Wellington, Te Ngākau Civic Square.
Weaving Hope tells the story of loss and hope. This work acknowledges the grief over the tragedy that happened in Christchurch on 15 March 2019, and presents a vision and hope for a more unified, accepting and diverse Aotearoa. The mural has been weaved together by local mural artist Ruth Robertson-Taylor, but the vision and key elements come directly from the Muslim community.
This work was co-created with the Muslim Students Association (VicMuslim), the International Muslim Association of New Zealand’s Committee, members of the Kilbirnie mosque community, and One New Zealand’s Muslim Society (Salam Network).
The Business and Foundation supported the creation of this mural, with site support from Wellington City Council.
“At [One NZ] we’re committed to fostering a deeply embedded culture of inclusion. One that values the full diversity of our people, our customers and the communities we serve. This mural reflects our desire as an organisation to take positive action from a devastating event, and demonstrate the kindness and generosity that sits at the core of Aotearoa. Out of tragedy must come unity.”
Antony Welton, Chair of the Te Rourou Board
About the Design
The name ‘Weaving Hope’, chosen by Iffah from VicMuslim, speaks to the vision of the artwork, and the wide range of artists and community members who helped weave together the final design.
Arches play a key role in the work, a nod to Islamic architecture, rainbows, and bridges. A strong shape, these arches are evocative of mosques, of bridging understanding, and of crossing boundaries.
The geometric features and Kufic script used in the design pay homage to traditional and modern Islamic art. They represent the love of science, geometry and the mystery of life in this culture, and feel familiar and welcoming to those of the faith.
In places the strong geometry fractures into pieces and shapes. This is symbolic of both disintegration and creation. The design is simultaneously destroyed and built from small elements, showing the dual nature and strong connection between these two forces.
Flowers feature strongly in the design. In the panel to the far right of the artwork each flower was hand carved by local Syrian furniture maker Mahmoud Shagouri, with the 51 martyrs from the tragedy in mind. The flowers come from various countries around the world, a reminder that Islam is a diverse global faith, and a faith practised in New Zealand.
There is a quote on the artwork, a feature all parties involved in the design wanted in the final work. It reads: “Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it.” Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
About the Artists
Ruth Robertson-Taylor was the lead artist behind the work, but key elements have been contributed by local, national, and international contributors.
Ruth Robertson-Taylor (Gorse) has been actively painting public murals for nearly 10 years in the greater Wellington region. Working collaboratively with councils and communities, she shapes narratives that encapsulate the spirit of each art piece’s location. Her mural aesthetics can differ greatly from one to the next, but like all good public murals, each piece responds to the space and community they sit within. Ruth often works with different artists to co-create large collaborative artworks. Graphic designers Muhammad Waqas and Farhan Sarfraz worked with Ruth on the overall design scheme for this work.
Additionally, the Kufic script (Arabic text displayed in three boxes throughout the mural) was contributed by Muhammad Waqas, a local creative who belongs to the Kilbirnie mosque community. The Kufic script displays the words ‘peace’, ‘love’ and ‘unity’. Read more about Muhammad here.
The traditional geometric design that is repeated throughout the work was contributed by Farhan Sarfraz. Farhan is a graphic designer, a Programme Manager at One New Zealand, and part of the Salam Network.
The flower carvings portrayed on the far-right panel were created by the artist and Mahmoud Shagouri. Mahmoud is a resettled Syrian based in Porirua. In Syria he was an expert furniture maker. Ruth and Mahmoud worked on the carvings together bridging the language gap with google translate!
Surprise find elements (hidden phrases) were contributed by Asyraf ElGhazali, a visiting student from Malaysia, who we met through the consultation at the Kilbirnie mosque.
A lot of amazing people contributed to the final design, and these were a few reflections and hopes for the mural from the co-creation workshops we ran.
“I hope that this mural can show others the real message of Islam, which is peace.”
“We are many races, we are diversified, but we are still one.”
“This mural is a great way to bring us back to all of those positive emotions that we had, to the goals we might have set, those resolutions we put forward… and to bring us back to each other.”
A huge thank you to everyone involved in the project. We hope the mural makes viewers think, and can play a small role in building a more unified and hopeful future for all of Aotearoa.
Our Foundation Manager, Lani Evans, received a Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2015 to explore Participatory Philanthropy.
“Participatory practice in philanthropy is a way of actively engaging communities in decision making, of valuing people on the ground, as subject matter experts, as practitioners of the funded work, and as the end beneficiaries of services.”