Tonganui Scholarship

Supporting Māori excellence in the oceans sector

About the scholarship

The Tonganui scholarship is a $10,000 grant designed to accelerate talented, Māori professionals in pursuit of education or research that advances tikanga Māori, mātauranga tuku iho and Te Ao Māori within the oceans sector.

The scholarships aim to:

  • Foster and grow an active and reciprocal relationship with Tangaroa and Hinemoana.
  • Accelerate talented and committed Māori to pursue excellence in the oceans sector
  • Advance kaupapa and mātauranga tuku iho within Western management and knowledge systems pertaining to the oceans
  • Strengthen the presence of Māori experts throughout the oceans sector; from decision-making to conservation, from innovation to research.
  • Strengthen Ngāi Māori’s ability to meaningfully influence and guide the future direction of the oceans sector.
  • Strengthen the adoption of and advocacy for Te Ao Māori, tikanga and mātauranga throughout the oceans sector.

Applications for the 2023 funding round are now closed. Join our pānui list to be notified of future rounds.

Ko Tonganui te ingoa o te whare i mau ai te matau a Māui

We acknowledge Māui Tikitiki a Taranga as the embodiment of the qualities to which we aspire as Māori; Māui the curious, the courageous, the quick-witted, the adventurer, the seeker and provider of well-being for his people.

Tonganui is the name of the ancient whare whakairo within the pantheon of Tangaroa. When Māui cast his hook into the ocean, it descended through the roiling seas, of Rehua, of Ere Toro, to the house of Tonganui. Te Matau a Māui lodged in this house, and by this House was the Ika a Māui brought to the ocean surface.

Tonganui represents attainable educational potential; and through it, prosperity for Māori. Its marine origins invokes our whakapapa to Tangaroa and Hinemoana, and acknowledges Māui’s quest for the prosperity of our Māori people. It was through grasping the house of Tonganui that Māui was able to attain prosperity.


Successful Tonganui Scholarship applicants must:

  • Be at least 22 years old at the time of application
  • Whakapapa Māori
  • Have four years or equivalent experience in the oceans sector, including but not limited to:
    • Policy and regulations
    • Science and research
    • Commercial or operational (including start-ups, Mandated Iwi Organisations or fisheries and aquaculture companies)
    • Community-based oceans initiatives
    • Conservation, biosecurity and resource management
  • Propose a programme that meets the requirements of the Tonganui Scholarship

Please note, receiving this scholarship does not impede your ability to seek additional grant funding if your selected programme of study or research costs exceed the maximum amount awarded in the Tonganui Scholarship.

Tonganui Scholars

A successful Tonganui Scholar is unwavering in their commitment to our oceans, strengthening our bonds with, and responsibility to, Tangaroa and Hinemoana. They have experience working within the oceans sector, and are pursuing pathways to accelerate and grow the impact they will have in the sector in the future.

Whether scientific research, mahinga kai, ocean navigation or biodiversity advocacy, we consider the oceans sector to be holistic, encompassing all interactions with the ocean.

Your programme of work, and your continued commitment to the oceans sector, will contribute to the advancement of one or more of the following priority areas:

  • Sustainability
  • Science and research
  • Policy development
  • Mātauranga tuku iho
  • Effects of climate change

Successful awardees, in addition to the grant, become part of Ngā Auahitūroa – Tapuwae Roa’s Alumni network of over 300 diverse, passionate, and highly talented Māori throughout Aotearoa.

Key information

Required documents

To apply for this scholarship, fill out the online application form and supply the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of endorsement from two referees (one from the oceans sector and one from a Māori entity/organisation is preferable)
  • A short summary of your intended use of the funding (max 800 words)
  • A short ‘cover video’ (120 seconds) outlining/illustrating the following:
    • How this scholarship experience will help you contribute to the scholarship’s objectives
    • How your kaupapa (eg choice of programme or activity) will strengthen your connection to Tangaroa, Hinemoana and the oceans sector
    • Your ongoing commitment to the oceans sector and to advancing tikanga, mātauranga tuku iho and Te Ao Māori within it, particularly post-grant and following the completion of your proposed kaupapa.

Application process and timings

You must complete and submit an online application by 5pm, 16 August 2023

A selection panel will consider applications on their merit against the purpose of the Tonganui scholarship and Tapuwae Roa’s impact outcomes.

The successful candidate will be notified by 4 September 2023 and announced via Tapuwae Roa’s website and associated social media channels.