Applications have closed for the 2021 funding round.

This year, Te Wai Māori Trust made $200,000 available through the fund which was established in 2012. Te Wai Māori administers and distributes the contestable fund to enable Māori to obtain funding and develop expertise to promote and advance Māori interests in freshwater fisheries through development, research, and education.

To date, there have been 56 projects funded by the Wai Ora Fund through Te Wai Māori committing funds of more than $2 million. To view some of the previous projects made possible through the Wai Ora Fund click here.

Purpose of the Fund

Through the Wai Ora Fund, Te Wai Māori seeks to enable Māori to develop expertise to promote and advance Māori interests in freshwater fisheries through development, research and education. The purpose of the fund is to:

  • Increase Iwi and hapū capacity and capability in freshwater fisheries and their ability to exercise rangatiratanga over their freshwater fisheries
  • Promote and share indigenous fisheries expertise, knowledge and understanding
  • Increase the quality and range of information to Iwi and hapū on freshwater fisheries and their interests thereof
  • Enhance the health and wellbeing of the indigenous fisheries and their environment.

Wai Ora Fund 2021

Below you’ll find a copy of the Guidelines for Wai Ora Fund applicants, a process map with key dates and milestones and also the Wai Ora Fund Application Form. You can click the images below to download a copy of each.

View all funded projects



The Māori Fisheries Act 2004 specifies that Te Wai Māori can distribute funds to the following groups:

  • Māori;
  • Mandated Iwi Organisations; or
  • Other Māori organisations

Projects will be assessed for their strategic value in achieving the purposes of the Fund. Projects must be focussed on one or more of the four guiding principles in relation to freshwater fisheries and their habitats.

Projects will not be eligible for funding if they have received funding from the Wai Ora Fund three times previously. However, applicants who have received funding previously for different projects are eligible.


Shared funding is preferred (i.e Iwi/hapū/local or regional council/other funding agents provide funding to project). Applicants should note that the maximum funding amount that can be awarded per project is $50,000 GST exclusive. Applicants need to provide a minimum 20% contribution to the project, whether it be cash or in-kind.
Funding decisions are based on the:

  • Funding criteria
  • Priority areas specified by Te Wai Māori
  • Quality of applications received

In assessing applications, Te Wai Māori may take into account the past contract performance of applicants who have previously received funding.

Funding will not be provided for:

  • Capital expenditure
  • Costs relating to motor vehicles and buildings
  • Costs relating to business operating expenses
  • Retrospective costs
  • Intellectual property royalties
  • Commercial ventures
  • Legal advice
  • Resource consents
  • Scholarships/PhD
  • Water Conservation Orders

For further information on eligibility or the priority areas for funding, please refer to the Wai Ora Fund Guidelines. You can also contact us via email at: