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