Youth grant fund recipients 2023

Te Whatu Ora’s Health Promotion Directorate has partnered with 14 youth-based communities to support youth-led initiatives that strengthen rangatahi/ young people’s wellbeing through our Youth Fund. The full list of grantees is available on this page.

These initiatives are co-designed and co-delivered with young people and have a strong focus on Māori and Pasifika. Grants range from $5,000 to $30,000 and total $306,000. All grants support initiatives that support youth wellbeing priorities including mental health awareness, addressing wellness through development of identity (social/cultural), and strengthening connection. 

Organisation Description
Rainbow Rangatahi Auckland Social Group

Rainbow Rangatahi Auckland Social Group is a parent led group providing a welcoming, safe and supportive space for queer tamariki aged 14 and under inclusive of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

We use ‘rainbow’ as umbrella terms representing LGBTQI+, acknowledging that some of our children may choose different terms to describe themselves. Some of our children are exploring their gender identity. We recognise a difference between this and gender expression – identity is about an inner sense of being, while expression focuses on outward appearances and perceptions.

We focus on connection, belonging and sense of identity which are key factors in good mental health. Through our meetings we provide peer support and advocate for our whānau and children. We strive to do our best to support our tamariki in their chosen pathways and to ensure that their health and wellbeing are nurtured, showing a clear pathway to lead positive, happy lives with good outcomes.

Maia Dreams Ltd

Maia Dreams mission is to empower and unite children, youth, adults, families and communities to believe in themselves. We also aim to help them grow in confidence, acquire skills to know themselves more than anyone else and become the person they are born to be. We have been privileged to work with over 8,000 tamariki and rangatahi in building confidence and resilience through our Confident Me program and our Confident Me Performing Arts programs. Our mahi covers personal development, cultural response, Matauranga Māori and Performing Arts.

This year, our Confident Me Performing Arts program is able to support rangatahi to working on two theatre shows - ‘Whakawetiweti’ which is all about the personal stories of these rangatahi around bullying as well as the culture of bullying, and ‘Rangatahi Queens of Drag’ which is a show about our Rangatahi dealing with their own gender identity and journey expressed through storytelling and drag.

Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou

Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou exists to support the tamariki and whānau of people in prison to create positive futures for themselves.
Pillars main objective is to build a community where every child who has a parent of caregiver in prison or serving a community sentence, has access to support and appropriate services; to create a positive future for themselves.

We are supporting Pillars Mentoring Programme, the Youth Advisory Panel and Tohu 6. Pillars Youth Advisory Panel is made up of supported rangatahi among Pillars cohort, with the goal to share their voices to create change for other rangatahi with whānau in prison; and to ultimately contribute to the wider transformative justice conversation. Pillars Tohu 6 programme is purpose built for Pillars youth to achieve key life skills and documents needed to bridge their pathway into employment and/or future study.

Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou believe children of people in prison are children of promise and potential.

Te Ika Whenua Counselling Services
Waka Haerenga Rangatahi sits in (Rangatahi Ora ki Murupara)

Rangatahi Ora ki Murupara is mobile youth hub for Rangatahi aged 10 to 24-years-old. There will be three internal programmes that have been significantly designed and developed as prevention, intervention and postvention programmes for youth. We aim to build competence, confidence, connections, character, compassion, and contribution through a strengths-based approach.

The youth hub will be Kaupapa Māori based and will focus on strengthening cultural identities through whanau, hapu, and iwi. Making the space safe and youth friendly, while building on individual capabilities of living with mental health, building resistance skills and harm reduction of gang initiation, affiliation and alcohol and other drugs.

To the right is a picture of the Overhead bridge which is the entrance and exit to Murupara. Our programmes focus on teaching our rangatahi that there is a life beyond the overhead bridge but also teaching them who they are and where they come from in order to be able to identify connection whilst succeeding. The Rangatahi in the picture is 14-year-old Hunter who loves to hunt and fish.


Noaia a whānau lead, kaupapa Māori holistic approach to mental wellbeing, connectedness and tino rangatiratanga. This is achieved primarily through a cultural reconnection, community connection, anti-suicide programme for 13 to 18-year-olds who are falling outside the mainstream education system.

The Youth Grant is funding a series of noho marae, consisting of a two-day intensive programme including mindfulness, mau rākau, kori tīnana and taiaha during the day, with a marae theatre production (Kehua). Kehua canvases health issues such as drug and alcohol addiction, whānau disconnectedness, trauma survival and self-management.

Niuvaka Trust

Youth Vaka

Nuivaka Trust is a charitable Pasifika community provider with a vision for Tagata Pasifika to be Thriving, Flourishing and Resilient. A have a strong focus on young people as they are the future leaders of tomorrow. The importance of investing time, resources, knowledge, life skills and experiences are vital in supporting them to live a life of their choosing, to thrive, flourish and be resilient.

Niuvaka Trust are collaborating with Be360 to deliver the ‘Youth Vaka’ project - Pasifika Youth Wellbeing Workshops in both Manawatū and Horowhenua. The workshops will have a focus on holistic wellbeing pathways and supporting the youth to develop their own Personal Wellbeing Plan. As part of this programme, we will also work with the youth to co-design a wellbeing initiative ‘for and by Pasifika young people’.  

The photo to the right was taken at our Pasifika Vaka Festival held in March 2023 in Palmerston North.

Refugees as Survivors NZ

Refugees as Survivors NZ (RASNZ) Youth is the youth arm of RASNZ, a specialist refugee mental health and wellbeing service provider in the Auckland region. Our vision is that all young people from refugee backgrounds develop the confidence to be their own person, build relationships based on respect and contribute to an inclusive society where all individuals are valued.

The RASNZ Youth Service provides co-designed youth leadership forums, peer support, and psychosocial support. We also organise vibrant social, sporting and cultural events. This project will co-design and co-deliver training and support for young people to become mentors for their peer groups from many diverse ethnic backgrounds. The mentorship programme is strengths-based, including open discussions on self-perception and identity, acknowledging cultural views on wellbeing, and including te Ao Māori models of wellness.

Mīharo Murihiku Trust

Mīharo Murihiku is a Māori and Pasifika Cultural Arts Trust that runs a number of events within the Murihiku and Central Lakes regions, focusing on Youth, Culture, Arts and Education.

Each year Mīharo facilitates a year-long youth programme, Whakamanahia Te Rangatahi (WTR), which focuses on engaging Māori and Pasifika rangatahi to strengthen their culture, language, leadership and identity through a series of events, wānanga and workshops. 

Our rangatahi gain real life skills by working alongside key leaders at events such as Murihiku Polyfest, where they have the opportunity to work in a number of different sectors such as the culinary team, event management, media, MC and livestream production, and much more. Our key leaders mentor the rangatahi with the intention of youth becoming key leaders at our events, and empowering them with the matauranga they need to take with them into the future.

Kapa Haumanu Limited

“He aha te kai aa te rangatira? He koorero, he koorero, he koorero.”

Weaving fundamental elements of Kapa Haka and Therapeutic approaches, Kapa Haumanu are leading the way to ensure our whanau feel safe to engage in Te Ao Maaori, build a strong sense of belonging and long-term healing. We are taking our kaupapa to more kura in our rohe, because we believe all whanau should be given the chance to navigate life knowing they have a kapa to support them. 

Te Karanga Trust

Te Karanga Trust’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of young people. We nurture creativity, career pathways, promote connectedness, belonging and the overall wellbeing of young people. The Navigators program is a weekly music-based creative workshop that engages and connects young people, finding common ground by sharing experiences, stories, music and creativity.

This is a free program for youth aged 16-24 (not exclusively) with an ‘open doors’ approach. Rangatahi engaged through Navigators are often connected with the other services and resources we provide including one on one mentoring and professional development.

Kalia : Leaders Through the Arts

ROAR Leadership Academy is an initiative that will be led by Kalia and co-designed with talavou (youth) in the Blenheim area. ROAR Leadership Academy will be the first Pasifika Wellbeing Academy in Blenheim that looks at a holistic approach for talavou at the core by using leadership and creativity as a vehicle. Our approach will be to co-design with talavou for a leadership academy that has a holistic wellbeing approach that looks at raising talavou leaders and uses creativity as a vehicle.

We look at achieving this by using our Kalia Pasifika Framework that underpins our holistic Pasifika values and principles of Vaerua (Cook Island word for Spiritual Wellbeing), Faka'apa'apa (Tongan word for Respect), Tautua (Samoan word for Servanthood), Veivakabekabei (Fijian concept for nurturing and valuing others) Fakamafanatia (Niuean word for to Encourage and Uplift) and Te Kāiga Māopoopo (Tokelauan concept for unity and purpose to achieve individual and collective wellbeing through peace and respect).

We envision ROAR Leadership Academy as using our Pasifika holistic approach in wellbeing by unleashing talavou through the arts – this sets our project apart from other forms of initiatives within Blenheim.  The desired outcome of the design project is to develop an academy that is shaped and run by our talavou. We believe that the academy will reflect the lives, needs and aspirations of our talavou who have the solutions for the issues they endure, daily.  

408 Community Trust

The 408 Community Trust is dedicated to improving the lives of whānau across the Far North.  We specialise in grassroots waka programmes.  This Youth Wellbeing programme has been co-designed with our Tira Taiohi (Youth group). They aim to become better connected with their peers, whanau and hāpori as a result of their input into the design, development, delivery and evaluation of this programme that has been shaped by their aspirations and lived experiences. As well as having daily access to our HQ and kaimahi; Waka Wananga will use strength based practise so that Taiohi across Te Hiku are better able to think about, plan for and take the lead in their own holistic health outcomes.

Te Wakahui Manawatu Trust- Hine Puawai

Hine Puawai is a nature-based wellbeing programme for girls aged 10-16years that explores all aspects of girl’s health and wellbeing; Taha Hinengaro (mind), Taha Tinana (body) Taha Wairua (Spiritual) and Taha Whanau (family and relationships). With purposeful activities that build important life skills; the aim is for young people to create quality relationships and connections, experience greater wellbeing, resilience and belonging, and to blossom into their full potential.

Grounded in the concept of hononga (connections); Hine Puawai explores the intrinsic relationships between people, wairua, and te taiao; the magic and interconnectedness of everything around us in the natural world, learning to understand and nurture our essence through the power of nature, creativity and storytelling. Creativity nourishes our Wairua, it helps us understand, express and value our identity.

Throughout the Hine Puawai sessions we nourish our creativity by exploring ways we practice self-care, nurture our worth, protect our mauri, and vision for our future. We do this in a variety of ways including journal making, connecting with Te Taiao (The natural world), engaging in Rongoa Maori (ancestral healing wisdom), and by exploring poetry & art. An approach that results in long term holistic health benefits, supporting the participants to become grounded in their innate mana and Tapu as young women; confident and equipped to navigate the path between childhood and adulthood.

The 10 week programme encourages participants to hold space for one another, and to bring forth and support the indescribable light that exists within each of us.

Levin Samoan Methodist Youth

Te Whatu Ora are supporting Levin Samoan Methodist Youth bring ‘Tupulaga mo Taeao’ to life for our younger generation.

We are providing a 12-week programme to not only address positive health outcomes for our young people through Kilikiti (Samoan cricket), but to also impact one’s feelings about belongingness, acceptance and inclusion through cultural dance and music. Our programme will help empower our Tupulaga (Youth) to connect, build confidence and show great leadership towards generations to come.