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About The Foundation

Moemoeā Our vision:

Whatītike oranga

Enhanced lives

Tā tātou whāinga Our purpose:

Pūtea kaitiakitanga, hāpai oranga.

To enhance lives through responsible guardianship of our investments and focussed funding, anchored by our commitment to Te Tiriti.

Ngā ūara Our values:

  1. Kia kotahi te hoe icon

    Kia kotahi te hoe

    Paddling in unison
  2. Whakamana icon


    Enabling, uplifting and reinforcing
  3. Ako icon


    Listening, learning and understanding
  4. Me mahi i roto te tika, te pono, me te aroha icon

    Me mahi i roto te tika, te pono, me te aroha

    Doing the right thing with respect and care

We are becoming a more strategic grant maker.

We are committed to ensuring that, while continuing our traditional community support funding, our focus will increasingly be on working in partnership with grantees and other funders to achieve projects of greater scale and impact for the communities of Auckland and Northland. With our funding, we are aiming to create significant positive change through supporting innovative projects and practices. To help organisations succeed we will prioritise additional support to assist selected organisations to develop their capacity and capability.
Wekaweka Valley Community Trust
Our Compelling Story
Our Compelling Story

Our Compelling Story

Paddling in unison, the Foundation North waka sweeps the surface of the moana, heeding the call of our communities and offering innovative approaches for change.

We set out thirty years ago

Our journey began on 1 May 1988. Funds from the sale of the community’s shares in the Auckland Savings Bank Ltd created the ASB Community Trust and, more importantly, a pūtea or endowment. This pūtea remains our responsibility in perpetuity. We are the endowment’s vessel for strategic investment so it generates funds to help our communities thrive.

We ensure this pūtea has safe passage across the vast oceans of time. Our role is to deliver funding and support for initiatives, large and small, that respond to the aspirations of our communities now and for generations to come.

When we first set sail, the Trust found a sure course and consistently contributed to our community. We gave responsive support at a sustainable level. We focused on protecting our fund from economic turbulence.

Collaboration propels us

Our progress has been possible because we’ve travelled alongside others, our waka journeying with many. In 2006, our $20m Māori and Pacific Education Initiative (MPEI) saw us sharing deeper trust and building capabilities on both sides. The initiative has helped remove barriers to educational achievement for Māori and Pacific taitamariki and rangatahi.

In November 2009, we established the role of Kaumātua. We are incredibly privileged to have the gentle wisdom of Kevin Prime, our Kaumātua, to help guide, support, and challenge us to play our part in committing to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We responded to a growing tide of opportunity

We soon recognised a growing opportunity to help our communities in Auckland and Northland. We lifted our sights to a broader horizon.

In 2015, we relaunched as Foundation North. We changed our name, but kept to our course. We combined impactful mahi with community-led solutions to achieve intergenerational impact and systems change.

We’re seeing new waves of impact

Learning new ways of being, equipped with insights from our MPEI mahi, gave us the confidence to embrace greater degrees of innovation, forge new ventures and collaborations. It’s helped us create a new wave of community-led impact. Through exercising our value of Ako, we launched:

  • A social enterprise, the Centre for Social Impact (CSI).
  • A high value, high trust multi-year grant programme, Catalysts for Change.
  • An innovation fund to restore the mauri (life essence) of the Hauraki Gulf – G.I.F.T, the Gulf Innovation Fund Together initiated in 2016.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, but we’ve never been more buoyant. COVID-19 has affected many of our priority communities. Our grant making continued during COVID-19 and has been a beacon in helping vital organisations navigate this successfully. It was during these unsettling times that our support honoured our values of Whakamana and we made our first impact investment.

We’ll go further together

In 2020, we further defined ourselves by describing our intention to support initiatives large and small to respond to their communities now and for generations to come.

We remain focused on our communities through another of our values, Me mahi i roto te tika, te pono, me te aroha (Doing the right thing with respect and care). Our systems keep us proactive and adaptive. We are dedicated to growing our cultural intelligence and competence as we paddle forward together.

We remain true to our purpose – our guardianship, in the past, at present and in the future of our pūtea, and to our vision of Whatītike Oranga – Enhanced Lives.

Ko te tohu o te hoe

Kia hoe ngātahi ngā kaihoe

Kia tere te waka

Kia tae tika ki te whāinga

The symbolism of the paddle is

That the paddlers pull in unison

That the waka sails true

That the waka moves quickly

To reach the destination.

- Kevin Prime, Foundation North Kaumātua

Grantmaking for innovation & systems change

Foundation North recognises that there are no easy answers to some of the challenges facing the region, and that new ways of working need to be encouraged and supported. We’ve been on a journeyto grow our understanding and practice in innovation and systems level change.

Read more about some of this mahi in our Reports section and on the G.I.F.T website.

    Pacific Youth Future Makers project launched 2019 South Auckland Community Innovation Fund prototyped 2019 Innovation Team formed and impact investment activity began 2018 Gulf Innovation Fund Together (G.I.F.T) established 2016 Māori & Pacific Education Initiative (MPEI) began 2006 Catalysts For Change programme initiated 2013 Foundation North Established 1988

    Our taonga


    The Taonga Manea is the visible representation of the mauri that embues Allendale House. It was carved by well respected kaiwhakairo (traditional carver) Bernard Makoare, who is renowned for his work in multiple media and works passionately to recover, rediscover and protect Māori heritage, particularly that of his iwi Ngāti Whātua. The Taonga Manea is carved of recycled Kauri, that once formed a part of the the Kaihu Hall, that was built by Bernards’ great grandparents , aunts and uncles. The atamarama (catseyes) are sourced from Kawerua and represent the three hapu of Ngāti Whātua – Te Taoū, Ngā Oho and Te Uringutu that have traditional dominion over the site that Allendale House is located on. The Taonga Manea links these traditional relationships with the significant contribution Foundation North makes to the communities within the Tāmaki and Tai Tokerau regions. The Taonga Manea also acts as a reminder of these small communities, which due to economic and social circumstances, may not exist when the time capsule is next opened, but through this taonga, their stories and prominence can once again be reawakened.

    Tūāpapa Taketake

    This carved taonga stands in the Foundation's boardroom, Rimu Tahi. It is the largest of a set of three taonga carved by whakairo | master carver Wikuki Kingi. Over 60 different native NZ and Pacific woods were used in the carving. The taonga were commissioned to signify a landmark point in the Foundation's history - the setting of a new 15-year strategy as well as the 15-year legacy of departing CEO Jennifer Gill and the passing of the baton to current CEO Peter Tynan. The form is influenced by the Foundation's koru logo, signifying permanence and a sense of building on the past and travelling towards the future. The name Tūāpapa Taketake was given by the Foundation's Kaumātua Kevin Prime and roughly translates as 'lasting, or long-established, foundation'.

    Mana Tūturu

    Created from the centre of Tūāpapa Taketake, this taonga was created by whakairo | master carver Wikuki Kingi from an array of different native NZ and Pacific woods. Named by the Foundation's Kaumātua Kevin Prime, Mana Tūturu holds the mauri of Foundation North and is with us when we hold public meetings, at key pōwhiri and hui and community events. Kevin Prime explains, "Mana is a difficult word to translate. Authority, prestige, power, presence, binding, certain, valid, effectual, authoritative are all possible English equivalents of the word mana. Tūturu is not so difficult to translate. Fixed, authentic, permanent, true, real, original, certain are all possible translations. When combined with Mana, the words describe the effect of a mauri stone to a building."


    This taonga was gifted to Jennifer Gill when she left Foundation North after 15 years as CEO in August 2019. Jennifer is pictured here wearing Wehenga with husband Harry (left) and incoming CEO Peter Tynan. It was carved by whakairo | master carver Wikuki Kingi and is a pendant created from the centre of Mana Tūturu. On giving it the name Wehenga, our Kaumātua Kevin Prime said, "It has three meanings - a part of, separation and leaving. All of these meanings have relevance to this special occasion - Jenny (part of us) separating and leaving us."

    Hoe (paddle)

    Named ‘Rangimarie’ (peace, aroha and treasured). This kauri taonga was presented to Foundation North by Sir Hekenukumaingaiwi Busby KNZM MBE, also known as Sir Hector Busby, of the Waka Ngatokimatawhaorua (Waitanga) and Mataatua (Taipa). It symbolises leadership which engenders peace, wisdom and confidence.

    The Commonwealth Quilt

    The Auckland 1990 Festival Committee commissioned the Commonwealth Quilt in honour of the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Designed and made in Auckland, it is the vision of artist Carole Shepheard. The central panel represents the conservation of our natural heritage. Above and below are borders of triangles, representing the migration of different cultures to this country. On either side, the Māori and Pacific panels envelope the quilt and bring it into balance. The project was funded by Foundation North and, after the quilt had toured the country, it returned here to be displayed in our boardroom.
    The Published History of Foundation North
    Foundation North

    The Published History of Foundation North

    In celebration of their 20th Anniversary in 2008, Foundation North was gifted a commemorative book named "Te Kaitiaki ō Te Pūtea: The History of Foundation North 1998-2008".

    Copies of the book are available by contacting the Foundation on 09 360 0291, or email