Pacific | Pacific

Pacific youth decide 20 grants to empower more South Aucklanders

$200,000 has been distributed to community organisations.

Young Pacific South Aucklanders have come together to make an impact on their communities through a funding programme designed to support local initiatives.

The programme saw the young people select organisations to receive 20 grants, each valued at $10,000, aimed at empowering Pacific people in the region.

To ensure the grants were allocated to the most deserving projects, the group collaborated with organisations including the Foundation North Trust and the Ministry of Pacific Peoples.

By joining forces, they were able to identify and select the most suitable community initiatives that would make a lasting difference in South Auckland.

13 passionate individuals stepped up to the challenge of representing their people.

Eunique Ikiua, a panel member involved in the project, expressed her admiration for the diverse voices that contributed to their decision-making.

Wanting to have their voice heard

“We’re all super passionate, and we are all from different islands - you got Kiribati, Sāmoan, Tokelauans, Niueans, and the Tongans - all wanting to have their voice, not even just ethically but what they value as the best for South Auckland and the communities we are trying to support,” she said.

The committee, composed of young individuals aged between 18 and 26, had the responsibility of distributing $200,000 equally among 20 projects.

The response to the grant call saw more than 50 applicants vying for funding, reflecting the pressing need for support and resources in the area.

Another panel member, Nova Tagi, highlighted the importance of involving young people in such initiatives.

“The last census showed the median age was 24 and we have 24-year-olds on our panel.

“I think we should be a part of it because we provide opportunities for people to participate in the processes and the voice and allocating of funds,” she said..

The grant selection process required applicants to present detailed proposals outlining the scope of their projects and the communities they aimed to benefit.

The panel also assessed credibility, prioritising community-oriented organisations and individuals with a track record of impactful work in the area.

Cultural competence was a significant criterion, ensuring that all funded projects were Pacific-focused and aligned with the community’s values.

Among the successful recipients were organisations such as Brownpride, Fijian Cooking Classes, and Barbershop Workshops for Youth in Manurewa.

Ikiua, who works as an accounts executive for Microsoft, expressed her enthusiasm for the experience and encouraged other organisations and government entities to follow the lead of Foundation North and the Ministry of Pacific Peoples.

She highlighted the innovation that emerges when young people are involved in decision-making processes, leading to positive and transformative changes for their communities.