$2 million boost for G.I.F.T

Foundation North has announced a major boost to its investment in the G.I.F.T initiative.

Trustee Chris Severne, Chair of the Foundation’s Grants Committee, was a keynote speaker at the Hauraki Gulf Forum’s recent Marine Park  Conference where he announced a $2 million boost to the Foundation’s G.I.F.T Fund (Gulf Innovation Fund Together), bringing its total investment in the fund to $7 million. 

The G.I.F.T fund supports innovation to restore the mauri (life essence) of the Hauraki Gulf, and has provided more than $4.5 million in grants to researchers, inventors, educators and not-for-profits since its inception three years ago.

“Through G.I.F.T we are seeing that it is possible to start to move the levers for systems change in the Hauraki Gulf”, said Mr Severne. “The Hauraki Gulf is a national treasure and we are excited to work in partnership with the Hauraki Gulf Forum and other Gulf stakeholders to restore its wellbeing”.

Photo credit: Shaun Lee

Photo credit: Shaun Lee

He Mauri Wānanga – a unique, immersive learning experience

Held at Ōrākei Marae and led by Precious Clark, creator of Te Kaa – a Māori cultural competency agency – this day-long deep dive helped over sixty members of the GIFT grantee network explore the concept of Mauri and the Māori worldview, te āo Māori, in a safe and highly experiential way.

Starting with a Pōwhiri to welcome all visitors (manuhiri), the day then explored the Māori creation story to articulate the Māori systems approach to the environment, followed by a session to understand key values of kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, whanaungatanga and tino rangatiratanga (sacred guardianship, caring behaviour, working together and Māori leadership).

A highlight of the day for everyone were the contributions by a panel of distinguished Māori leaders; Foundation North’s Kaumātua Kevin Prime (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Whātua, Tainui, Welsh), Whaea Moe Milne (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi) and Matua Rereata Mākiha (Ngāti Whakaheke, Te Aupōuri, Te Arawa).

GIFT Project Manager Kim Collins said, “We have had amazing feedback from staff, trustees, grantees and our stakeholders.  This wānanga has been a great prototype, and people have told me that the experience and learnings have profoundly changed the way that they will approach their work from now on.”

Our heartfelt appreciation goes to everyone at Ōrākei Marae and to our facilitators:

·        Precious Clark (Ngāti Whātua, Te Uri o Hau, Ngāti He and Pākeha)

·        Graham (Grayza) Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Manu, Ngāti Kuha and Ngāti Haua)

·        Kataraina Davis (Ngāti Whātua)

·        Kelly Kahukiwa (Ngāti Io, Ngāti Whakue, Ngai Tūhoe and Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki)


GIFT Year Two report is launched

Foundation North staff and trustees joined the GIFT grantee and stakeholder community last night to celebrate the completion of the second year of GIFT grantmaking, and the publication of the GIFT Year Two report.

Held at Sustainable Coastlines' Flagship Education Centre in Auckland's Wynyard Quarter, the event was opened by Foundation North's kaumātua Kevin Prime with a welcome address from CEO Jennifer Gill. Presentations by GIFT trustees Toni Millar, Romy Udanga and Michelle Tsui drew attention to Year Two achievements, learnings and the next steps for GIFT. Read the full report here.

As with most GIFT hui, it was a chance for grantees to meet, make connections and be inspired by each other. The Centre for Social Impact's Rachael Trotman and GIFT's Innovation Advisor Louise Marra spoke about their roles in exploring mauri and in wrapping support around the GIFT grantees, who were well-represented on the night with presentations by Sue Neureuter (The Noises), Steve Hathaway (Young Ocean Explorers) and James Muir (WaiNZ).

A special 3-minute animation of the Year Two report has been designed and produced by GIFT intern Sumin Ha - watch the animation here.

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GIFT-funded projects in the spotlight

We are excited that three of the projects we support through our Gulf Innovation Fund Together (G.I.F.T) initiative are attracting media attention right now.

 Guardians of the Gulf is a pilot web platform set up by EcoMatters Environmental Trust to enable businesses to offer incentives to reward people for volunteering their time to environmental projects benefitting the Hauraki Gulf. The platform went live on Monday 12 November and is ready for the public to explore at www.guardiansofthegulf.co.nz

 Researchers from NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) are heading out on the Hauraki Gulf this week to find out more about the nurseries of young snapper. A G.I.F.T grant is being used to extend the areas being habitat-mapped by echo-sounder technology aboard the organisation’s vessel Ikatere.

 Meanwhile in a South Auckland classroom today, a group of Year 7 students from Kedgley Intermediate School became some of the first young people on the planet to try out the NZ-VR Project – an educational resource which allows the viewer to experience the underwater world of the Hauraki Gulf (both pristine and endangered) in vivid 360 virtual reality. New Zealand Geographic, the Sir Peter Blake Trust and WWF are behind the series of experiences which can be accessed by anyone with a device connected to the internet. Go to vr.nzgeo.com to instantly connect with what few of us have seen with our own eyes. 

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Rangatahi Kaitiaki – our latest digital story

Marama Beamish, project co-ordinator at Te Toki Voyaging Trust, had a dream to create a rangatahi kaitiaki programme for her community around Umupuia Marae, close to Maraetai.

A G.I.F.T grant of $50,000 supported Te Toki Voyaging Trust to run such a project in early 2018. The aim was to empower Ngāi Tai rangatahi (young people) to engage with elders and Iwi leaders, Māori scientists and facilitators, waka experts and the wider community, in a four-day programme based on the water and land around the marae.

This pilot project connected the young people with their role as kaitaiki (guardians) and allowed them to better understand their natural environment, not just using Western science and technology, but also through matauranga Māori – in particular through their pepeha (ways of introducing yourself).

Click here to read the case study

Impact investment meets tree-planting – a New Zealand first

A $50,000 grant from Foundation North’s Gulf Innovation Fund Together (G.I.F.T) is being used to develop a business case for an Integrated Impact Bond to fund permanent native forest in New Zealand.

The aim is to identify whether impact investment (investment with an intention to generate a measurable and beneficial societal and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return) can be used to provide up-front capital for permanent forest planting, particularly on vulnerable, erosion-prone land and waterway margins throughout the Hauraki Gulf and New Zealand.

The G.I.F.T grant will enable Sam Lindsay, an impact investment consultant and Dr David Hall, Senior Policy Researcher at AUT and author of the Pure Advantage report ‘Our Forest Future’ to dedicate time towards shaping how this new funding mechanism would work, given that it would only be the second time in the world that such an instrument has been used.

Foundation North established the $5m Gulf Innovation Fund Together in 2016, with the aim of supporting innovative ways of restoring the mauri or life essence of the Hauraki Gulf. Sam Lindsay says the grant means that a robust proposal can now be worked up ready to present to various stakeholders, “At a government level, there is a lot of motivation to progress the concept, but neither the mechanism or channel to innovate at this early stage. If we can gather a better understanding on the concept execution and key benefits, we will have a much better chance of success”.

To support the business case, two potential pilot planting locations are being explored in the Hauraki Gulf with assistance from Auckland Council and Sustainable Coastlines, who will support the initiative by bringing together all the necessary community groups to manage and carry out each planting project.

Photo credit: Sustainable Coastlines


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