A pioneering social impact investment fund supporting Māori businesses and initiatives in the South Island is calling for applications for its 18th funding round.

Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency for the South Island. For almost 10 years, the agency’s flagship WAVE social innovation model has supported hundreds of whānau throughout Te Waipounamu to deliver meaningful change for their whānau and communities.

Pouārahi Ivy Harper said each investment round brought an inspiring array of ideas and initiatives and this year would be no different.

“It is always an exciting time, for us and for whānau. All of our mahi is centred on the philosophy that whānau must be placed at the centre of service design and delivery, supporting them to realise their own solutions and so we are excited to see what fresh ideas and new growth WAVE 18 will bring.”

Last year, independent research found that the direct commissioning approach of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu had seen whānau shift from state dependency and subsistence living towards independence and wealth creation.

The evaluation led by Christchurch-based Ihi Research looked specifically at the social impact of the agency’s 2022 WAVE 16 investment round, which saw a total investment of $2.7 million spread across 83 whānau-led initiatives from Nelson to Bluff, and also determined a return on investment (ROI).

The study found that across the 83 funded initiatives, almost 5,000 Māori were positively impacted, with a net present value of up to $87,433 per person. This reflected how much extra income they would have to receive to get the same increase in life satisfaction. The economic value of increased life satisfaction combined was at least $7.2 million, but likely to be many times that, the researchers noted.

Harper said whānau who participated in the WAVE 16 round also reported higher life satisfaction than the general Māori population.

“We know our approach works and we encourage whānau to bring us their ideas for this latest round, no matter how big or small.

“We welcome applications from individuals, whānau, community groups and businesses in Te Waipounamu, Rēkohu Wharekauri and Rakiura who have an initiative or kaupapa that seeks to support them and their hapori to thrive.”

Meanwhile, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has also opened its Tai Neke, Tai Ora fund aimed at promoting whānau hauora and creating connections to te ao Māori.

Harper advised that whānau interested in learning more about WAVE or Tai Neke, Tai Ora could attend one of a dozen roadshows being held throughout the South Island in the coming weeks. Sessions would be held in Christchurch, Blenheim, Nelson, Motueka, Timaru, Dunedin, Alexandra, Mataura, Invercargill, Hokitika and Greymouth. More information can be found on the commissioning agency’s website.

Applications close at 12pm on Wednesday, February 14, 2024.




Nicola Coburn   E: nicola@naia.co.nz