The NEXT Foundation has confirmed the areas it is most interested in regarding its strategy to improve New Zealand’s environment and education.

The guidelines have been released as it reaches its two year milestone and in advance of the next round of funding applications in 2017.

“We are thrilled with the partnerships we have developed since we ran our first application process in 2014,” says NEXT CEO Bill Kermode.

“We have completed two rounds of investments and assessed nearly 400 applications. That has helped us define our areas of interest moving forward.”

“ NEXT is looking to invest in new projects that can provide further momentum for change on a national scale. We want to support programmes that are transformational, inspirational, run in a business-like way, and importantly, that will leave New Zealand in a better place for future generations.”

The areas of most interest are:


  • Accelerate progress toward New Zealand being predator free 
  • Healthy rivers and freshwater management 
  • Environmental education 


  • Teacher and Principal excellence and education 
  • Connection and collaboration (both within the education sector, and between the education and other sectors) 
  • Technology in education 
  • 0-3 years early education 

In the environment, existing projects like Project Taranaki Mounga, ZIP, Project Janszoon and Rotoroa Island all fit within the predator free guidelines. Te Awaroa was an initial incubation investment in the healthy rivers and freshwater area, with subsequent investments in both this and the environmental education area still to be made. 

In education, the Springboard Trust, The Mind Lab by Unitec, Manaiakalani Outreach and Teach First are all NEXT supported projects that promote teacher and principal excellence and education. Nga Pumanawa e Waru, Springboard Trust, and Manaiakalani Outreach come within the NEXT connection and collaboration description. The Mind Lab by Unitec, Manaiakalani Outreach and Nga Pumanawa e Waru all have strong technology in education elements. 
NEXT foundation is a $100million philanthropic spend-down fund, with a ten year life, supporting programmes not just financially but with partnerships, networks and introductions. Its philosophy is to look for transformational change that would not otherwise happen. 
“We want clear definition of a problem or need, and a clear plan to address it in the initiatives we support. We want to see inspirational leadership and excellent project management and execution skills. And we want our projects to have wide impact and a plan for long term sustainability – not just financially but also in regard to their resources, capabilities and partnerships. Ultimately we are focusing on supporting a small number of large scale initiatives with these characteristics that can transform their area of interest in New Zealand,” said Mr Kermode.