Foundation North has recently distributed $4.8 million dollars in grants to not-for-profit organisations and community initiatives across our region.
Pūhuro STEM Academy was a first-time recipient of funding from the Foundation, receiving a grant of $145,000. The Academy is a transformative programme aimed at advancing Māori leadership and capability to deliver a world class science community. The Pūhuro STEM Academy was supported by Massey University’s charitable arm to apply for the grant, which will be used to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) engagement to rangatahi Māori in South Auckland.
“Most future careers will require some level of STEM expertise and given that Māori represent less than 2% of the science and technology workforce, programmes like Pūhoro become increasingly critical,” says Naomi Manu, Founder and Director of Pūhoro STEM Academy. “As a younger, and growing population group (estimated to be 30% of the workforce by 2030) it is more important than ever to ensure Māori have opportunities to develop STEM skills.”
Funding was granted specifically to deliver the kaupapa Māori STEM workforce development programme to 250 rangatahi in South Auckland.
“Not only will this help our country to meet the STEM demands of the future, it will also diversify the STEM workforce and transform the lives of young Māori and their respective whānau within South Auckland communities.” Naomi said.
Foundation North has recently changed its strategy to distribute funding into four key Focus Areas; these are increased equity, social inclusion, regenerative environment, and community support.
‘We have recently sharpened our focus on the kind of initiatives we will support into four Focus Areas,” said Peter Tynan, Chief Executive Officer. “We encourage applications from organisations which are a great fit with these areas.” You can read more about our focus areas on our here.
In Tai Tokerau, a grant of $100,000 was awarded to Te Roroa Development Charitable Trust towards Te Toa Whenua, an initiative designed to restore and transform nine hundred hectares of land along the Waipoua river. The restoration project, which will involve initial pest and noxious plant control and then the re-forestation of native plants, will protect important cultural and archaeological sites while establishing sustainable land uses for current and future generations of Te Iwi o Te Roroa.
This is an intergenerational project; one that won’t be completed in just five or ten years,” said Courtney Davis, Project Manager of Te Toa Whenua. “It’s going to require hundreds of years and we will have to be patient and work through the challenges that arise over time.”
Funding was granted specifically towards the development of a nursery which will propagate native plants required to replant land within the scope of Te Toa Whenua. The nursery will also become an educational tool and community hub and will enable members of Te Iwi o Te Roroa to be involved in the rehabilitation of their whenua.
“Once we get the projects going, such as the nursery, this might encourage young people to come back into the area, because at the moment there is no employment at all,” said Courtney. “Having a small-scale industry will greatly appeal to rangatahi.”
“This project is an opportunity for Te Roroa, partners and public to experience and develop an understanding of traditional and contemporary sustainable land management,” said Peter. “It is a shining example of our regenerative environment focus area as it will enhance conservation outcomes while creating great learning and educational opportunities for generations to come.”