NEXT education initiatives

A short video showcasing NEXT educational investments.

Ako Mātātupu:Teach First NZ

Encouraging the best and brightest into teaching

Ako Mātātupu:Teach First NZ recruits outstanding graduates and career changers to bring knowledge, energy and leadership into low-decile secondary schools. The recruits undertake an intense teacher training course and commit to a two year programme – working toward a vision of educational equity through system change, and for all young people of Aotearoa to achieve their full potential.

Manaiakalani Outreach

From subsistence to capital building

Manaiakalani works in partnership with Māori, Pasifika and low income communities to address educational inequity in primary schools. It inspires New Zealand’s disadvantaged learners to better educational outcomes through evidence-based improvements to teacher practice and a digital and collaborative teaching model.

The Manaiakalani Education Trust was established in 2011 to support the work of Manaiakalani educators. “The Manaiakalani commitment”, says Trust Chairman Pat Snedden, “is to support those New Zealand learners and families who find it difficult to access or afford local, global and digital citizenship. Manaiakalani de-mystifies education in order to lift educational achievement, so that these young people can move from subsistence to capital building in their future lives.”

Springboard Trust

Building strategic leadership skills in education

Springboard Trust works with the New Zealand education sector to help school principals and other school leaders develop strategic leadership skills – and in turn, improve students’ educational outcomes. Since beginning in 2007, programmes and services have been delivered to school leaders and their leadership teams across eight regions, with Springboard supporting more than 400 schools (amounting to 17 percent of New Zealand schools) with a student population of over 160,000.

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Talking Matters

Shining a light on the power of talk.

Talking Matters is a campaign to promote the importance of quality interaction and talk for babies and toddlers in their first 1,000 days of life. Some Kiwi children are starting school with oral language levels normally expected of a three-year old, and this early language difference is a significant contributor to the education gap between disadvantaged and more affluent children.

Talking Matters wants all children to have the language they need for a successful start at school. Science tells us that interaction and talk are key to achieving that.

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Tamariki Wellbeing

Improving outcomes for whanau and their tamariki

Tamariki Wellbeing is part of The Southern Initiative, an innovation unit embedded within Auckland Council that is exploring ways to address some of the pressing social and economic challenges in South Auckland. Tamariki Wellbeing is one of four critical areas it is focusing on, looking for new ways to support and improve the outcomes of whānau and their tamariki, especially in the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life.

The initiative takes a strengths-based approach, working with communities in South Auckland experiencing significant challenges, to help break cycles of generational inequity. The Southern Initiative also works at a government level to achieve system change.

“New Zealand and overseas research has consistently shown that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is a critical window to have a lifelong impact on children’s learning, behaviour and health,” says TSI director Gael Surgenor.

“Our vision is that all parents and whānau are supported to nurture their children’s foundational brain development and wellbeing so all tamariki to have a strong foundation of love, connections and skills that sets them up for lifelong learning, success and resilience. Many families with young children in South Auckland are living with cumulative and prolonged levels of stress at a significantly higher rate than the rest of New Zealand. The weight of multiple stressors can rob parents of bandwidth and derail child development. Whilst these parents are carrying a heavy burden of stress our research shows they are also motivated to do the very best for their children.”

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The Education Hub

Bridging the gap between research and practice

The Education Hub is building the infrastructure to accelerate the sharing of research, effective teaching practice and innovation in education in order to improve opportunities and outcomes for ECE (Early Childhood Education) and school- level students in New Zealand. It provides trustworthy, easy-to-read resources for teachers, documenting the latest research and high impact teaching practices, as well as capacity building opportunities to support teachers to strengthen and innovate in their practice.

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Previous Investments


NEXT invested in Humanitix from 2019- 2021, while it established a sustainable business model in New Zealand. As a not-for-profit organisation, it now operates as one of the leading event ticketing platforms, continuing to channel profits from booking fees into education programmes that address inequity.

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Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru

Rotorua – a great place to learn

Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru is an innovative, community-driven initiative that supports schools, learners, iwi, communities and whānau/families to make Rotorua “a great place to learn”. Established to address the growing challenge of inequity amongst the Rotorua district’s schools and in some cases declining rolls, it is demonstrating the ability of a backbone organisation to bring a transformational shift to collaborative, digitally-enabled learning in the district.

NEXT invested in Ngā Pūmanawa e Waru for three and a half years.

The Mind Lab

Empowering teachers for digital change

The Mind Lab believes teacher education is critical to making the most of advances in technology, and has developed a Postgraduate Certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning to help teachers and educators upskill for the digital age.

NEXT Foundation granted a series of scholarships over four years, enabling more than 4,300 New Zealand teachers to upskill and further prepare for a rapidly changing education environment.

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Parental support in a baby’s first year

Space for you and your baby, is the Parenting Place’s post- natal programme, supporting new parents and their babies over their first critical year together. Space uses a group setting and format to nurture a sense of acceptance and belonging, supporting new parents to feel confident and valued in their parenting role.

NEXT invested in SPACE for you and our baby as it transitioned into The Parenting Place.

Read the story here.

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Summer Learning Journey

Reversing the summer slide in student literacy achievement

Summer Learning Journey (SLJ) is a digital Iiteracy programme to support students over the summer holiday period. It is an equity-focused programme, designed to provide students from low-income communities with access to digital learning opportunities outside of school. In the absence of such opportunities, students can lose more than 12 months of literacy learning over a single summer (six week) period.

The programme is the product of a partnership between the schools of Manaiakalani; educators, leaders, students, family and whānau in those schools around New Zealand; educational researchers working at the Woolf Fisher Research Centre at The University of Auckland; and philanthropic funders supporting the Manaiakalani Education Trust as well as the MSA Charitable Trust and the Wright Family Foundation.

NEXT invested in the Summer Learning Journey for two years. It has subsequently been incorporated into the Manaiakalani education programme.

Foundation Education Initiatives

In addition to supporting the establishment of NEXT Foundation, Annette and Neal Plowman have initiated or supported several other major philanthropic projects, through their benefaction of a charitable trust. These include:


These scholarships enable students in the Bachelor of Business to undertake international exchanges at business schools in the USA, Canada, UK and France. They offer assistance to students when financial circumstances make it difficult for them to undertake the exchange.


Following the establishment of a Chair in Entrepreneurship in 2003, $10 million was contributed to the University of Auckland Business School Endowment Fund, which is focused on fostering a culture of innovation and enterprise in New Zealand. Funds are used to help students become outstanding business leaders and entrepreneurs, to contribute to the creation of wealth through business education, and to help the School become more attractive and competitive on a global scale.