Otago Community Trust Grants over $490K to Support Arts, Music, Science and Youth

12 Jun 2024

Media Release

The Otago Community Trust has awarded $492, 678 in its latest grants round, supporting a diverse range of initiatives that will enrich the region through science engagement, performing arts, music education and youth development opportunities.

Leading the way is a $90,000 grant to the New Zealand International Science Festival. Being Aotearoa’s only festival dedicated to the wonders of science, this grant will go towards the main 2025 festival, while also supporting the smaller NanoFest in June/July this year.

NanoFest will feature events including talks and workshops, as well as the highly anticipated first-ever (in Aotearoa) free public drone sky show during Matariki weekend (29th June). The dazzling display of over 200 programmable light drones is themed around Māori arts and culture and is expected to attract audiences nationwide.

“We’re stoked to be able to provide another excellent festival for Dunedin-ites and visitors alike of all ages and interests during the July school holidays” said Jerome Cousins, Director of the NZ International Science Festival. “Thanks to OCT funding, not only are we able to put this on, but most events are able to stay free! Putting a festival on requires resources the whole year round, and without the generous support of the Otago Community Trust we wouldn’t be able to put on nearly as big, as often, and as accessible a festival as we are able to now.”

The performing arts also received a boost with Taki Rua Productions Society receiving an $8,500 grant to bring their Te Reo Māori Season production Te Aka Tawhito to Otago schools and communities. This vibrant theatrical work by Tere Harrison is performed entirely in te reo Māori and tells the story of Rongotai pursuing her dream of becoming Aotearoa’s top DJ. Accessible to all, this engaging show provides tamariki with an immersive avenue to learn about and celebrate Māori culture while being inspired to use te reo in their everyday lives.

Alexandra McKellar, Funding & Marketing Manager for Taki Rua says "As a not-for-profit theatre company, we rely on the support of organisations like Otago Community Trust to allow us to bring our work to all communities and to help remove the cost barrier to do so. Thanks to their support we are able to keep ticket costs low, and to ensure we get to as many Kura as possible".

The Otago region will be alive with the sound of music over the coming months. With a $10,000 grant going to Chamber Music New Zealand for their Dunedin concert season, it will include international acts as well as regional concerts in Wānaka, Cromwell and Ōamaru. The Central Otago Regional Choir also received $2,500 for their Spring Concert Series and the New Zealand Choral Federation received $4,000 to host the long standing ‘The Big Sing’ secondary schools festival in Dunedin.

A $25,000 grant to Tokomairiro High School funds an innovative Forestry Pathways Training program in Milton. Tailored to students at risk of disengaging from education, this hands-on course provides practical skills, work experience and pre-employment training to prepare students for careers in the local forestry industry.

“Tokomairiro Training is extremely grateful to the Otago Community Trust for the generous grant given to us which will make it possible to run our Forestry Pathways Course in 2025” says Lynda Allan, manager of Tokomairiro Training. With strong industry partnerships facilitating work experience placements and 100% attendance rates, the goal is for all students to seamlessly transition into sustainable forestry or wider primary sector employment. “This course has a proven success rate, whereby eight students each year (100%) are placed into full time sustainable employment.”

Otago Community Trust Community Grants, May 2024



Central Otago Friendship Network



Central Otago Regional Choir



Central Otago Group Riding for the Disabled Association



Catlins Senior Citizens Club Inc



The Bannockburn Community Centre Management
Committee Inc



Dunedin Pakistan Society Inc



Dunedin Performing Arts Competitions Society Inc



Kingslea School - Puketai



Dunedin Netball Centre Inc



International Festival Environment Science
Technology Dun NZ Inc



The Valley Project



St Clair School



Dunedin Philippine Club Inc



Otago Medical Research Foundation Inc



Straight Up Trust



Port Chalmers School



Orchard Naturist Club Incorporated



NZ Continence Assn Inc T/A Continence NZ



Cancer Society of NZ Otago & Southland



Tokomairiro High School



Taieri Competitions Society



Excelsior Rugby and Associated Sports Club



Steampunk NZ Trust






Presbyterian Support Northern T/A Lifeline



The Brain Injury Assn (Otago) Inc



New Zealand Choral Federation Inc



Southern Ice Hockey League



Chamber Music New Zealand Trust



Otematata Residents Assoc Inc



Taki Rua Productions Society Inc



Dunedin City Petanque Inc



Eagles Golfing Society of Otago Inc



Skeggs Foundation



Wellington Community Fund



Aspiring Gymsports Inc



Wanaka Associated Football Club Inc