Te Ōhaka Tīwhera Annual Report launched – Rakatahi Māori Fund

We have reflected on a year of rakatahi making important decisions in Murihiku through Te Ōhaka Tīwhera. We’re excited to launch this annual report to showcase the mahi of our rakatahi, and to shine a light on some of the community partners they supported throughout the year.

Over the past year, Te Rourou has been working alongside Murihiku rakatahi to develop our Rakatahi Māori Fund, gifted the name Te Ōhaka Tīwhera by the rōpū of rakatahi who administer it.

With our funding partners, Clare Foundation, Community Trust South, and Invercargill Licensing Trust Foundation, we have gifted this opportunity to our rakatahi – but the real taoka is the insight, expertise, and time the rakatahi have given to us.

Kā mihi nui to our rakatahi panel, and to the community they have supported.

“We are not just getting an opportunity to make a ‘one and done’ decision. We are being presented with the tools needed to create success in life, establishing future leaders.” – Mya Kairau, rakatahi panelist

Te Ōhaka Tīwhera Annual Report 2023

Data shows exclusion and disadvantage has increased among young people in Aotearoa over the past five years

TaiOHI Insights Report 2023 outlines the latest insights from OHI Data Navigator

Despite the best efforts of many community-focused organisations across the motu, the TaiOHI Insights Report 2023 shows a gradual increase in the number of rangatahi experiencing disadvantage in Aotearoa New Zealand, reaching 20.6% in 2022 compared to 20.3% in 2021 and 19.3% in 2018.

The third annual report released by Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation, draws from five years of data within the OHI Data Navigator (2018-2022), providing insights into systems-level shifts and data showing specific experiences of rangatahi.

The report highlights that across Aotearoa, 35% of rangatahi now live in areas with high levels of material deprivation, of these, 31% have experienced exclusion and disadvantage. On the flipside, for young people living in areas with low material deprivation, just 10% have experienced exclusion and disadvantage.

OHI Data Navigator is a free interactive platform that draws on government and community data, with its primary data source being the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) managed by Stats NZ. The data within OHI Data Navigator is focused on three areas to provide a view on exclusion and disadvantage – experiences of care and protection, justice, and education and employment – and is updated annually in May.

The TaiOHI Insights Report aims to highlight lived experiences of rangatahi through both data and storytelling, with an overall aim of creating a more equitable Aotearoa where rangatahi can thrive.

While one in five rangatahi continue to experience disadvantage and exclusion in Aotearoa, there are some green shoots. Education qualification attainment data for rangatahi Māori in South Invercargill, for example, show increases in the proportion of 16 to 25-year-olds attaining at least NCEA 1, 2 and 3 in the three years between 2018 and 2022.

Along with data from the OHI Data Navigator, the report includes a literature review of reports collated by the Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction Group, which sits within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Prioritising wellbeing, greater connectedness, and supporting aspirations for the future emerged as broad themes from rangatahi. The TaiOHI Insights Report 2023 then summarises seven recommendations, building on calls made in previous reports.

Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation continues to call for systems-level change, and the need to welcome and listen to the voices of those with lived-experience of exclusion and disadvantage, to drive real impact in our communities.

The Foundation is also trying to put this recommendation into practice within its work in Murihiku Southland. The rangatahi Māori fund, Te Ōhaka Tīwhera, is now entering its third year as a participatory funding panel with ten rangatahi helping distribute almost $160,000 to local community organisations from August 2023 to February 2024. By giving youth a voice and decision-making power, they can exercise tino rangatiratanga and help to create local solutions to problems faced by their peers.

TaiOHI Insights Report 2023

For more information on OHI Data Navigator, please visit www.datanavigator.nz.

Bluff teen punching to be Antony Welton Fellow for 2023

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.

Antony Welton Fellowship

Creating opportunities for rangatahi in South Invercargill

‘If we can’t take the rangatahi to the opportunities, we’ll bring the opportunities to the rangatahi’ – If there was one way to describe Stacey Materoa’s role at South Alive, this would be it.

Stacey began working as the Rangatahi Project Co-ordinator in January 2023, after South Alive received funding from Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation through its Invercargill Initiative. The purpose of the role was to provide more opportunities for rangatahi in South Invercargill, and over 10 months, those opportunities have been coming in fast.

School holiday programmes, community picnics, rangatahi-led podcasts, and support service satellite events are just some of the ways Stacey helps to enable equitable access for young people in the south.

“We want to be the bridge that connects south Invercargill rangatahi to the rest of the city,” Stacey says.

“Transport is one of the biggest barriers for young people in the south, which means they’re not able to utilise many of the existing support services around the city.  By bringing those services and opportunities here, we’re helping to break those barriers.”

Every project falls under any four focus areas:

  1. Trust & Connection
  2. Spaces & Places
  3. Agency & Empowerment
  4. Exposure & Education

Importantly, the role is continuously shaped by the rangatahi Stacey works with, including a ‘rangatahi events crew’ who help to decide what initiatives are most important to them.

“For me it’s about giving them opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s giving them a say and making sure they’re heard. It’s about showing up for them too; the type of things every young person needs.”

Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation community catalyst Mandy Smith says Stacey has been a huge asset to the Foundation’s Invercargill Initiative.

“The mahi Stacey does directly addresses many of the difficulties raised in our interactions with rangatahi. We know young people in South City are experiencing disproportionate rates of disadvantage and there are clear benefits in supporting a role like this in our community,” Mandy says.

The Rangatahi Engagement Co-ordinator role has already received funding from Te Rourou’s Thriving in Murihiku contestable fund for Stacey to continue her amazing mahi.

Supporting Māori aspirations – Te Ōhaka Tīwhera rolling fund open for applications

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.

For more information about the fund, including criteria and how to apply, visit Te Ōhaka Tīwhera Fund – Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation