Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation grants over $400,000 to eight community organisations in Southland

Thriving in Murihiku fund supports local initiatives to create positive outcomes for rangatahi

Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation has donated $415,000 to eight community organisations across Southland (Murihiku).

The Thriving in Murihiku fund is working to create positive outcomes for rangatahi, by providing funding and support to non-profit organisations focused on supporting youth to reconnect with culture, navigate pathways into high quality employment, and increase their connection to and understanding of the digital world.

Lani Evans, head of Te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation, says “We are thrilled with the outcome of the funding, and it’s a privilege to support organisations that are doing such meaningful mahi in Murihiku. As part of our long-term commitment to Southland we want to support local people, creating local solutions. We hope these grants will enable these organisations to trial new, innovative solutions to support their rangatahi, and amplify already successful programmes.”

One of the recipients, South Alive, is a community-led development organisation based in South Invercargill, aiming to revitalise the most under-resourced part of Invercargill. The Vodafone Foundation is providing a $25,000 grant to support a pilot programme testing a range of initiatives to enhance connections, pride, and skills in South Invercargill.

Courtney Ellison, community development and operations manager at South Alive says the community in South Invercargill has been wanting to do more for their young people for some time and the funding will give them the kick start they need. “We’re really excited to get started. The work we do is community-led, but with this funding we can appoint a youth co-ordinator to focus on developing more youth-led and youth-focused programs.

“We know transport is a barrier for young people to access services and programmes, so that will be a focus for us. We’d also love to improve digital connectivity in our community facilities so these spaces can be used more often and for a wider range of activities, along with a tech club to provide more digital learning opportunities.”

Another Thriving in Murihiku fund recipient is Te Tapu o Täne, a new iwi-owned native tree and plant nursery that are undertaking catchment rehabilitation services across Murihiku. The Vodafone Foundation is donating $65,000 to support their pilot program, which is focused on engaging rangatahi in employment, skills development and connection to te taiao (our natural world).

Jana Davis, chief executive, Te Tapu o Täne says, the program is designed from a te ao Mäori perspective. “This exciting kaupapa is rakatahi focussed, the aim of this pilot is to empower the next generation and equip them with the matauraka of our tüpuna with a focus on mahika kai and taoka species. We are excited to be enabled by te Rourou, Vodafone Aotearoa Foundation to impact the next generation alongside Te Wharekura o Arowhenua and the YMCA at the Ömaui youth camp. Delivering a 12-month pilot means we get to engage multiple times per year, build capabilities and tell an amazing story. I believe we are building projects that will impact our rakatahi long after they have left school, every time they pass these small forests it will act as a constant reminder that they have positively made an impact on te taiao.”

The other recipients of the Thriving in Murihiku fund include:

  • Mihāro Murihiku Trust is a Mäori and Pasifika cultural arts trust. The $45,000 grant will support their work to extend and strengthen the Polyfest and the Whakamanahia te Rangatahi work, providing structured volunteering, NCEA accreditation and cultural engagement for young people.
  • Murihiku Young Parents Learning Centre is the only teen parent unit in Southland. The $20,000 grant will provide transport support for young parents based in rural Southland to attend the school.
  • Rangatahi Tumeke provides camps and leadership programmes for rangatahi Mäori, imbedded in traditional skills and te ao Mäori. The grant of $55,000 will ensure their continued contribution and engagement.
  • Awarua Whänau Services is a Kaupapa Mäori service and a subsidiary of Te Runaka o Awarua, one of the18 Papatipu Runanga of Ngäi Tahu. The $75,000 grant will support the implementation of a six-month individualised after-school programme helping rangatahi gain employment skills.
  • Number 10 Southland Youth One Stop Shop provides a range of free health, well-being and support services to young people. The $60,000 grant will provide group mentoring and group programmes to support a wide range of rangatahi.
  • Lighthouse Southland is a specialist family violence agency providing support and services to the victims/survivors and users of family violence and abuse. The $70,000 grant will support the delivery of an Adolescent Behaviour Programme for rangatahi in Murihiku whose behaviours are causing harm to them, or those around them.

Te Tapu o Täne, Rangatahi Tumeke and Awarua Whänau Services have direct links to Te Rünanga of Ngäi Tahu, strengthening the Vodafone Foundation’s partnership with the iwi.