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.

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