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Te Pūtahitanga o te Waipounamu and Sport New Zealand team together to help South Island rangatahi

Emily Ansell
te kiwai v2
Te Kīwai Fund

Te Pūtahitanga o te Waipounamu and Sport NZ have launched a new fund to help remove financial barriers for Māori rangatahi wanting to participate in sports and other forms of active recreation.

Worth $850,000, Te Kīwai Fund will allow young people between the ages of five to 18, to receive $300 each to support their sporting endeavours.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson attended the launch at Te Pā o Rākaihautū School in Linwood, Christchurch.

He said it was hard seeing young Māori unable to participate in sporting activities due to cost.

"I want to see families get that opportunity. Through life you see so much potential in Māori kids… to see kids walking away from sport at 13, 14, 15, is just not right."

Te Kīwai
Willie Jackson speaks at Te Kīwai Fund launch Mihiata Ramsden

Te Kīwai Fund aims to improve Māori health outcomes through its investment in preventative measures.

Te Pūtahitanga chief executive Helen Leahy said it was for this reason the fund was so important.

She said there was too much emphasis on treating existing health issues. "If we focused instead on prevention and encouraging healthy lifestyles from conception, then we are in a far better position." 

Helen Leahy praises success of Te Kiwai Fund launch

The fund is a two-year pilot, and if successful, Raelene hopes it will pave the way for new working relationships between Government and Māori organisations.

"If this works, and we see an improvement in activity levels, that allows us to go to the Government and say this is something that’s working really well."