For the second year running, Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust has awarded $60,000 to support rangatahi-led and kaupapa Māori focussed projects across the community and ocean sectors.

This year’s Tukuoha funding round saw the return of the Pou Herenga Tangata Award, a fund dedicated to supporting rangatahi that aspire to community leadership, and the Tonganui Scholarship a fund to support Māori-led kaupapa that advance mātauranga Māori in the marine environment.

Kia Maia Ellis (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Ruanui) was one of the three successful Tonganui Scholarship recipients who aims to develop a transdisciplinary approach to address declining kōura (crayfish) populations in Tauranga Moana.

“The design of this study stems directly from the needs and aspirations of our people in the management of customary fisheries and the Mātaitai Reserve in Tauranga Moana,” says Ellis.

“The research will assist with understanding the current state of the kōura population, understand the effects of climate change, and develop mātauranga Māori and marine science-based tools and knowledge to address the cumulative effects on the sustainability of kōura in Tauranga Moana.”

Alyssa Thomas (Patuharakeke) was one of five successful Pou Herenga Tangata Award recipients and plans to utilise the funding to facilitate a rangatahi wānanga that explores the significance and aspirations for the previously confiscated, Pukekauri dam in Takahiwai.

“Pukekauri dam holds historical significance and was valued and used dearly by our ancestors. However, once access was restricted, our hapū connection to this space was severed,” says Thomas.

“In order to create an effective management agreement and to update our Hapū Environmental Management Plan, I recognise that a holistic understanding of hapū aspirations is key. This means that we must bring in rangatira, kaimahi, and rangatahi voices into our steps forward.

“I plan to facilitate a rangatahi wānanga, supported by the Patuharakeke Trust, to engage with our youth about their visions and values of Pukekauri dam. This will include a site visit, tree planting, swimming, and interactive activities to better understand how they would like the area to be restored, protected and sustained for the future.”

Previous recipients of the Pou Herenga Fund and Tonganui Scholarship have included Kaea Tibble who is re-indigenising maps using mātauranga Māori Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping software, and Deane Gage who facilitated a three-day kaimoana wānanga to help connect people to the moana and whenua.

As an entity of Te Ohu Kaimoana, Te Pūtea Whakatupu has a long history of supporting impactful Māori initiatives through both funding and investment, and recently celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the Fisheries Deed of Settlement.

“Reflecting on our past and the legacy we have inherited has reiterated the importance of our Trust’s purpose, the sustenance of Māori identity. These grants are an opportunity for our emerging leaders to pursue their passions – whether community or the oceans – in a tikanga-led, unapologetically Māori way” says Te Pūoho Kātene, Kaihautū of Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust.

In addition to receiving the funding, successful recipients of Te Pūtea Whakatupu’s Tukuoha funding round are officially recognised as members of Ngā Auahitūroa, the Trust’s growing alumni network of over 300 passionate and diverse funding recipients.

To read more about the successful grant applicants of Pou Herenga Tangata Award and the Tonganui Scholarship for 2022, click here.