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)