Supporting Māori Aspirations – New Te Ōhanga Tīwhera Fund Launched

Te Rourou is today celebrating another step towards an equitable future for rangatahi with the launch of a new fund designed by and for Māori youth in Murihiku.

Te Ōhanga Tīwhera is a fund established to support the aspirations of Māori youth throughout Southland, with eight rangatahi at the helm making the decisions on where the funds would be best distributed.

The fund is proudly supported by Te Rourou in partnership with Community Trust South, the Invercargill Licensing Trust Foundation, and Clare Foundation, who collectively believe rangatahi Māori are best placed to understand their own needs for support and cultural connection.

Te Rourou Community Catalyst Mandy Smith said giving rangatahi the power to decide the direction of the fund helped to elevate the youth voice in the community.

“[The rangatahi] thoughts and ideas are so insightful. As a rōpū they are considering how they can fund initiatives that will create systems change and better futures of rangatahi in Murihiku,” she said.

The name of the fund, Te Ōhanga Tīwhera, is a taonga gifted to the fund by the rōpū. Ōhanga is a nest where ideas are developed in a safe, nurturing space, and Tīwhera means to expand those ideas and opportunities. The eggs within the nest symbolise different streams of funding developed by the rōpū. Each funding stream prioritises opportunities for rangatahi within the takiwā to expand and grow their connections in Te Āo Māori.

The rōpū decided for the fund to be distributed into three streams of funding:

Visiting Your Pepeha – Individual Grants
Five individual grants of $2,000 available to financially support recipients to visit their pepeha. Funds can be used towards travel, accommodation, food, koha, and taking a support person for the journey.

Kapa-Piri Mai – Haka-Tata Mai Grant
A one-off establishment grant of up to $15,000 for the initial development of a new rangatahi-focused community kapa haka group.

Te Ōhanga Tīwhera – Contestable Fund
funding up to $25,000 for creative and innovative projects or initiatives that support rangatahi to connect with Te Āo Māori. This could be through the arts, sport and recreation, education/learning, hui, events or wananga.

Applicants must be available to pitch their project or initiative to the Te Ōhanga Tīwhera decision makers (a panel of rangatahi) on Sunday 30th October 2022. For more information about the fund, including criteria and how to apply, visit

About Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation

Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation has a goal of halving the number of young people living with exclusion and disadvantage by 2027. The Foundation works in a number of ways toward this goal including its Thriving in Murihiku project, a place-based initiative in partnership with the community to understand the aspirations and needs of rangatahi in the community. Rangatahi in Invercargill are experiencing disproportionate rates of disadvantage and exclusion compared with the rest of Aotearoa (based on data from OHI Data Navigator)

Passing the Rākau to Rangatahi – A Fund for and by Māori Youth

Poipoia te kākano kia puawai

Nurture the seed and it will blossom

How could we possibly know what’s best for rangatahi Māori? How do we know where best to invest toward the future aspirations or our Māori youth? What do they want? Need? Well, it turns out the answer is easy – let rangatahi Māori decide what’s best for rangatahi Māori.

Over the past couple of months, Te Rourou’s community catalysts have been working alongside Murihiku rangatahi to develop the Te Ōhanga Tīwhera fund – a collaborative fund that is designed with, by, and for rangatahi Māori throughout the rohe.

The fund came as Te Rourou’s response to overwhelming feedback from rangatahi Māori in Murihiku who said they needed to be heard, to be better connected to their culture, and to be valued in society. So, the Foundation allocated $200,000 to the fund, and were joined by funding partners the ILT Foundation, The Clare Foundation, and Community Trust South who added a combined $75,000 to the pot.

The money was ready – the next step was for the rangatahi to decide what to do with it.

Each of the eight young participants were chosen by their respective Murihiku papatipu Rūnanga; Te Rūnaka o Awarua, Te Rūnaka o Waihopai, Oraka-Aparima Rūnaka and Hokonui Rūnanga. From there, with the help of the community catalysts, the rangatahi were upskilled in lessons of governance, from conflicts of interest to applications, and right down to the nitty-gritty of the funding process.

What started as a group of eight young (perhaps a little apprehensive) strangers, quickly blossomed into a collaboration of unique and ambitious minds, eager to have their voices heard. They all quickly learned how closely their values aligned, and from there the structure of Te Ōhanga Tīwhera fund came to life.

A connection to culture, a platform to elevate young voices, and a sense of belonging in the community were just some of the general themes that came from their lively korero. These young people took the fund and carefully crafted it into an opportunity to best impact and support their fellow rangatahi.

They collectively decided the best way to make use of the fund was to divide it into three pools of funding. To apply, there is a short form and then an opportunity to present to the panel later in October. You can find out more about the funds available here. 

We already know that young people have a unique understanding of their own communities, their own challenges, and what it will take to enhance their own wellbeing. By making sure they have a seat at the table and a voice for their own futures, we can assist the next generation into success.

Ka rere, ka rere: becoming OHI Data Navigator

Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu. Adorn the bird with feathers so it may soar.

Data is incredibly useful. It helps us tell stories, measure change, identify patterns and make decisions. At Te Rourou we believe OHI Data Navigator is a great example of this – a tool that provides accessible, relevant data that can shape advocacy, service provision, understanding, and outcomes for rangatahi (young people) in Aotearoa. It’s a project that we have been developing since 2018, and one we’re incredibly proud of. So, how did it come about?

Te Rourou launched in 2002 and has been focused on supporting better outcomes for young people since 2007. In 2017, we launched a bold new strategy, with the goal of halving the number of young people experiencing exclusion and disadvantage in New Zealand within 10 years. This audacious goal required us to better define exclusion and disadvantage; and to explore the question “how will we know when we get there?”.

Our goal was informed by a literature review, our own experiences, insights from community partners, and a 2016 Treasury report entitled Characteristics of Children and Young People at Risk. This report was based on information collected from a number of sectors, including education, social welfare and justice, as well as Statistics NZ surveys. Its findings and methodologies (both those we liked, and those we didn’t) underpinned and informed much of our subsequent work.

We engaged Deloitte, Nicholson Consulting, and the Centre for Social Impact to help us explore how we could use data, literature, and the voices of lived experience to understand the challenge and track changes over time. For three years, we worked together to explore different tools and frameworks before landing on a free, publicly available, data-based solution – OHI Data Navigator.

What we wanted to create was a tool that would generate impacts across the system. We wanted to democratise access to information, shape a strengths-based narrative from administrative data, influence government and philanthropic investment, and inform the development of services for young people.

In 2021, the data platform achieved MVP status (minimum viable product) – incomplete, but good enough to share. We established an independent Steering Group, published a report based on data insights, hired a project manager and launched the tool publicly at parliament. Since then, OHI Data Navigator has gone from strength to strength, developing its own strategy and identity, engaging with users and the broader community, and working to embed the principles of Māori Data Sovereignty.

We think there is so much potential in the information OHI Data Navigator offers. That’s why we’ve committed to operating as an umbrella for this work until 2027. It is our hope that, over the next few years, the tool will develop a life of its own, embed its usefulness in the sector and create significant contribution above and beyond the needs of Te Rourou. Our job has been to build the foundations of a tool. We’ve cloaked OHI Data Navigator with the resources it needs to start flying. Now it’s our job to step back to let it soar and see how it grows and serves community.


Rising inflation; rising demand: a call to action for Philanthropy

Philanthropy is here to create positive change. So how do we respond when things get hard? Because let’s be clear – right now, things are hard, for whānau, communities, and the organisations that support them.

Inflation is above 7%, the highest level in three decades. Whānau are facing significant jumps in the price of food, petrol and housing. Illness, whether covid, influenza, or just plain exhaustion is disrupting work, schooling, and supply chains. And community organisations, particularly those that provide essential services and support our most vulnerable, are facing significant increases in service demand.

For many community organisations, that increased demand is combined with increased costs in service provision, but no corresponding increase in income. This is placing stress on operating budgets with already tight margins and few reserves to draw on. The impacts are not just from inflationary pressures. Staff retention is also becoming an issue as charities struggle to remain competitive in a jobseeker’s market.

The current situation is not financially sustainable, nor is it sustainable for staff who bear the well-being impacts of consistent under-resourcing.

Philanthropy’s role in the for-purpose ecosystem is to provide resourcing and support. We are in the unique and privileged position of being, for the most part, financially secure. Now is the time for us to engage our generosity. Let’s dig into our reserves, and ensure the organisations we care about survive, thrive and continue to meet the outcomes we are working towards.

Te Rourou is taking action by providing a one-off, untagged support payment to all current community partners. We hope that these funds, the equivalent of 10% of the original grant, will help organisations retain staff, cover increasing costs and meet their goals. And as grant contracts renew, we will be talking to organisations about the true cost of their mahi, and looking for ways that we can provide adequate support – through funds, advocacy, access to networks and volunteer time.

It is vitally important that charities continue to deliver services to communities – and at the moment some of these services hang by a thread. How we choose to respond is up to us. We’re laying down the wero (challenge) – how will your organisation respond to a changing economic environment?

– Lani Evans, Head of Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation

New data shows one in five young people are experiencing exclusion or disadvantage in New Zealand

OHI Data Navigator reveals rangatahi are experiencing exclusion and disadvantage at high rates, and some communities are disproportionately affected.

21 June 2022

This week, Te Rourou, One Aotearoa Foundation has released the 2021 data refresh for the OHI Data Navigator (formerly the Thriving Rangatahi Population Explorer), a free interactive tool that provides insights into the experiences of young people in Aotearoa. The updated data, from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), shows that one in five young people are experiencing exclusion or disadvantage in New Zealand, with some communities that are disproportionately affected.

Ta’ase Vaoga, Rangatahi Insights Lead explains, “We found some changes in government administrative definitions and processes which impacted what the data was telling us. In 2021, we were seeing things getting worse year on year for young people, however, with this data refresh, the numbers seem to be getting better or plateauing.”

“While this is great for our rangatahi, the numbers still highlight a serious problem with 20% of young people in Aotearoa experiencing exclusion and disadvantage.”

The Data Navigator now allows users to drill down one geographical level further than before.

Lani Evans, Head of Te Rourou explains, “We can now see how exclusion and disadvantage is playing out in specific suburbs or rural communities. Insights at a community level will help those working locally to understand the specific experiences of young people and will help local organisations target support where it is most needed.”

Te Rouroru has committed to a long-term investment and partnership with community in Invercargill to address the disproportionate number of young people in the area that are experiencing exclusion and disadvantage.

“We can see from the refreshed data that 23% of young people in Murihiku experience exclusion and disadvantage, this is higher than the national average. But when we drill down deeper, we can see even starker differences, 41% of rangatahi in the southern suburb of Clifton are experiencing exclusion and disadvantage. This is an incredibly valuable insight and will help us target support in this area,” says Lani.

Following the release of the refreshed data Te Rourou will continue analysing the data and will release their annual report later in the year with key insights and areas of interest.

For more information about the OHI Data Navigator data refresh see The data inside the Navigator – OHI Data Navigator