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He Pūkenga Wai Fund

The Government has committed to significantly improving the safety, quality, resilience, accessibility, and performance of affordable water services, in a way that is efficient for New Zealanders.

Ten new, publicly owned Water Services Entities will take on responsibility for the operation of the country’s water infrastructure, which are currently managed by 67 councils. The new Water Services Entities will be established between 1 July 2024 and 30 June 2026.

Through this reform mana whenua will have joint oversight with Councils for each of the entities, through regional partnership arrangements, along with other roles that are anticipated (e.g Te Mana o te Wai).

Government is providing funding to support iwi to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Iwi are well engaged in the reform programme and understand the range of opportunities available in the new system.
  • Collaboration and connection across mana whenua within specific entity boundaries are strengthened; and
  • Capability and capacity plan for iwi to contribute to the new system is enhanced.

Funding for individual iwi organisations to wānanga within their own whānau and hapū will be available for up to $18,000 per annum through He Pūkenga Wai Fund. Following feedback, the eligibility criteria for He Pūkenga Wai will be broadened for 2023/24 to allow a wider cross section of organisations to apply and get involved.

New operational settings have been established that will ensure He Pūkenga Wai is distributed evenly across all water service entity areas and applicants have equal opportunity to access funding.

Where there is an umbrella arrangement (where one organisation makes an application on behalf of multiple organisations), the number of eligible organisations for any application is limited to a total of 5.

Who will be eligible for funding

  • Post-Settlement Governance Entities: the representative organisation established after a Treaty settlement with the Crown that has the purpose of representing the iwi members and managing any assets resulting from the settlement.
  • Mandated iwi organisations: organisations with mandate recognised by the Crown for Treaty of Waitangi settlement negotiations.
  • Iwi authorities: the authority which represents an iwi for the purposes of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) and which is recognised by that iwi as having authority to do so.
  • Hapū and Marae that are endorsed by an eligible organisation i.e. endorsed by a Post-Settlement Governance Entity, Mandated iwi organisation or Iwi authority.

Endorsement can be a letter of support for applying for He Pūkenga Wai funding from an eligible organisation’s Chief Executive or Chairperson.

Link to list of eligible entities

What work is funded

General engagement on the Water Services reform programme, including broadly:

  • within iwi
  • between iwi organisations
  • within a region
  • within Aotearoa New Zealand
  • with Local Government Organisations.

Establishing representative arrangements for the new water services entities, including:

  • representative approaches such as election costs
  • costs of supporting and setting up a representative.

Planning, advice and research associated with establishing the new water service entities, including:

  • project planning and management costs
  • gathering and preparing supporting information
  • research
  • legal advice.

Funding requests must align with He Pūkenga Wai funding outcomes:

  • mana whenua engaging in the opportunities available in the new system
  • strengthening collaboration and connection across mana whenua within specific boundaries
  • enhancing capability and capacity of iwi to contribute to the new three waters system. 

What you will need to apply

Applications will require organisations to be registered in the Hāpai Hapori system. If you register any time prior to making your application, then the application process will be simpler.

To register your organisation, phone 0800 556 253 or email pukengawai@dia.govt.nz and a Hāpai Hapori advisor will support you through the process.

Once you are registered, you can apply to He Pūkenga Wai Fund online through the online grants management system:

Link to the online grants management system

To apply, you will need:

  • a short outline of the activities you intend to undertake
  • An application letter signed by an individual with proper authority to commit the iwi organisation to the representation process. 

Grants made by He Pūkenga Wai Fund

For a list of the grants made by He Pūkenga Wai Fund follow the link below:

He Pūkenga Wai Fund record of grants