Funding announced for Masterton education programmes and COVID-hit NFPs

Oct 2020

An exciting array of education programmes across Masterton have just received funding from the Masterton Trust Lands Trust, boosting opportunities for learning for both young and old.

From outdoor education, to digital technology, the arts and history, to sports and more, nearly $130,000 has been granted to 18 organisations from the newly established community education grants fund.

This fund was established during the year to offer grants to community and education organisations involved in providing local education programmes  and opportunities, with the aim of nurturing lifelong learning and broadening learning opportunities that will enhance our whole community.

As well, seven not-for-profit community organisations have received funding from a special COVID19 community support fund.

This fund was recently established to support organisations affected through lost income or increased demand for their services as a result of the pandemic. Nearly $30,000 has been granted and applications remain open, with $20,000 still available.

Chair of the Trust, Leanne Southey said she was thrilled with the range of applications the Trust received. 

“This really demonstrates the impressive range of opportunities for learning available for all members of our community, both young and old,” says Miss Southey. “We have funding going towards assisting seniors’ digital education, science for kids, arts and cultural support, helping kids get to Outward Bound and more. And with COVID-19, we really wanted to be able to assist organisations that help others as that reflects the sort of community we have in Masterton.

“In these challenging times, it is all the more important to keep our community focused on moving forward together, and these grants will be a real plus for many who are trying hard to help others learn and grow.”

One sector receiving a significant boost that will not only benefit the learners, but the wider public too, is search and rescue, with grants to Wairarapa Search and Rescue and the Wairarapa Rescue Trust. The two organisations are to receive funding to assist with alpine snow and ice search and rescue training, and helicopter underwater escape training for flight crew, respectively.

Spokesperson for both organisations, Sam Milligan says he deeply appreciates the assistance, and the funding has clinched their ability to deliver what will be invaluable training for their rescue volunteers.

As our community is only too aware, the Tararua Range is treacherous and unforgiving. Mr Milligan
says it was the gruelling and tragic search last year for Darren Myers that further highlighted the need for specialist skills to operate in unforgiving and icy conditions.

“We had three teams trained for such conditions, but recognised that another three trained teams would have been invaluable,” says Mr Milligan. “We are  so thrilled that we have eight very keen young locals who are now able to attend training at Turoa. It will pay for the instructors which was the final item we needed to fund. Now we can proceed.”

The Rescue Trust will receive funding for helicopter pilots to attend underwater escape training in the event a chopper goes down at sea. Thanks to other local funding recently secured for crucial equipment, Wairarapa-based Amalgamated Helicopters can be deployed further out to sea for searches, but with that comes the need to keep crews safe. 

“We’ve got all the gear,” says Mr Milligan. “But now with this new grant, we can be so much more confident such rescue missions will keep our pilots and air crew safe too.” 

Another excited grant recipient is the House of Science Wairarapa Charitable Trust. The Trust provides comprehensive science learning kits for use in primary schools, kindling children’s innate curiosity and stimulating their interest in science. Three new kits are now possible thanks to the grant.

General Manager, House of Science, Dr Amanda Taylor says schools can be really stretched to provide all the materials needed for hands-on science learning, and often teachers and parents end up paying for it themselves, or sadly science can be left off the agenda. 

“Children are natural scientists due to their curiosity, but this can get lost if children are not adequately supported,” says Ms Taylor. “These new kits will extend our ability to reach more children, and to keep their learning constantly refreshed. Science has been a big feature of our pandemic-stricken year, so it is timely to harness the positives from that.” 

New kits available due to funding will be named ‘Wonderful Wai’, ‘Measurement Matters’ and ‘May the Force Be With You’.

In this round of grant approvals, the Trust has proudly awarded a total $157,000 across 25 organisations.

The COVID-19 community support grant fund still has $20,000 available.

For more information and details about how to apply, visit