21 February 2024

Community Development Fund seeks more applications

The Murihiku Rūnaka and Rio Tinto / NZAS Community Development Fund, established by Murihiku Rūnaka and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, NZAS and Rio Tinto, is now inviting applications for the second round of funding.

The Fund, launched in 2023 as part of a commitment when Murihiku Rūnaka and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, NZAS and Rio Tinto signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2022, allocated the first $1.15 million in its opening round last year, which went to seven worthwhile projects (See: HERE).

The second and final round is now open and seeking applications from community organisations in Southland, who have projects already underway or being planned, working in four areas that reflect the priorities of Rio Tinto, NZAS, Ngāi Tahu, and the wider community:

  • Enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and health and wellbeing outcomes across the community.
  • Inter-generational culture, heritage, conservation, and environmental outcomes.
  • Unlocking human potential and community resilience through education, science and innovation, and workforce development.
  • Contributing to the region’s economic development and climate transition by supporting businesses to expand and new industries to emerge.

NZAS Community & Social Performance Manager, Dion Williams, said those who had applied for funding before and were unsuccessful were welcome to reapply.

“We had a great range of applications in the first round, and while we couldn’t fund every one, we will be happy to receive applications from those who were unsuccessful previously.

“We are really looking forward to assessing this new round of applications, as we work towards helping provide an investment in a positive and sustainable future for Mana Whenua and the whole Southland region,” Mr Williams said. 

This second round has up to $600,000 to allocate. If a future for the smelter is secured after 2024, then ongoing allocations to the Fund for future rounds are likely.

Te Rūnaka o Awarua representative, Jacqui Caine, said: “We look forward to receiving more high-calibre applications and supporting organisations with projects that will contribute of to a vibrant Murihiku.”

Applications are open to all organisations in Southland, that meet Fund criteria. Application guidelines and forms can be found at www.nzas.co.nz/pages/community-supportpartnerships/, or enquiries can be made to community.fund@riotinto.com.

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