From regenerating New Zealand’s native birdlife and improving the quality of our rivers, to strengthening school leadership and improving our teachers’ digital literacy – the first four initiatives to receive NEXT Foundation investment have the potential for large-scale transformation.
NEXT chair Chris Liddell is delighted to announce the foundation’s first four investments in the fields of the environment and education.
“Collectively the projects focus on the assets which NEXT Foundation believes are the most important to New Zealand as a country – its land and its people,” says Liddell.
“We established NEXT earlier this year to invest in initiatives with three fundamental characteristics: we wanted initiatives to be large in scale and impact, to have clear plans for delivering impact and to have a team of people that can make it happen.”
In the environmental space, the selected initiatives are Zero Invasive Predators, or ZIP, which aims to regenerate our native birdlife through the permanent removal of predators on the mainland. And, Te Awaroa, which will work with local communities to dramatically improve the quality of New Zealand’s rivers.
The first recipients of the Foundation’s investment in the area of education are The Springboard Trust, which promotes leadership development for school principals and The Mind Lab by Unitec, which seeks to improve children’s education through teaching digital literacy skills to teachers.
The selection process was made difficult by the calibre of the 287 submissions received, says Liddell, and is testament to New Zealand’s remarkable, innovative community of social entrepreneurs.
“The process itself was a privileged insight into the many ways to a better New Zealand. We’re delighted that each of the four projects that we’re investing in all have a multiplier effect and the potential to have greater impact nationally. By influencing teachers we help the children that they teach; by influencing principals we influence the schools they manage; by working with local communities we can make a difference to the health of our rivers; and by sharing predator best practices we can protect our native birdlife,” he says.
“We’re also excited to be working with the leaders of each of these initiatives who are passionate New Zealanders looking to make a difference – real Kiwis looking to solve real problems.”