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1 April 2021

WFF Newsletter April 2021

WFF Newsletter April 2021

Kia ora koutou katoa,

As the nights close in and we grow to appreciate these last days of summer, we can give thanks that our glorious time with family and friends has been due to a government that kept us safe.

No one could deny there has been a massive cost on so many levels, but lives have been protected and there is nothing more sacred than the life of every individual. Te tangata, te tangata, te tangata.

We in the Foundation have seen philanthropies, groups, organizations, and individuals struggle with the drop in funding due to the fallout from Covid. We have also witnessed the innovation of the same entities in navigating these obstacles and moving the lens to where it needs to focus.

Our people of New Zealand, Aotearoa show such resilience and tenacity born out of the struggles that come from a pioneering spirit. This spirit was born 900 or so years ago as great ocean travellers, and by those who left their homeland to find a better way of living for the future of their children. We, or our ancestors, have travelled here to build a better future and those who can. We have a responsibility to safeguard the pioneering spirit upon which our nation was built.

As our emphasis lies within the broad scope of education and health, I would like to share how the shift in literacy is occurring within these fields. We are supporting the rewording and emphasis of a traditional form of European lullaby to reflect the more informed parenting of today. This can be told and sung in Te Reo. We are supporting an oratory pilot programme for children in schools. I well remember the stories of my grandparents, when they first sailed to this land, and I was held enthralled. My own children and now my grandchildren, love to hear how Wayne and I met and the path of our courtship. That seems so ‘old fashioned’ now, but we feel so fortunate that our hearts and hopes sat within the ‘romance’ of those times.  

We continue to struggle with our efforts to engage with DHBs and government particularly in the field of our Mothers Matter campaign. Until mothers are supported respectfully and appropriately during pregnancy, birth, and post birth, we will continue to see the ‘knock on’ effect on mothers, their children, and whanau long term. Doors have been firmly slammed by the powerful. As I said in parliament to those who hold the power, to both politicians and those with vested interests; “turn away from your mirrors and turn your gaze to humanity”.

                “To deny people their human rights, is to challenge their very humanity”

                 – Nelson Mandela



 EnviroPast and A Plastic Solution for our Beaches

The Foundation is thrilled to see the empowered engagement of students in this project.

Now in its second year, the EnviroPAST (Plastic and Sustainability Talks) conference is a two-day conference combining workshops, a beach clean-up, and talks by guest speakers. Taking place on the 16th and 17th of July, our 2021 conference is organised by five students under the age of 20. The goal of EnviroPAST is to inspire, educate, connect, and challenge young people to create positive environmental change. Our MC, Tim Jones, said it best: “I’ve been around a few conferences and events in my time and this one was one of the best-ever. This is two days of focused attention on the challenges that we all face at so many levels from our almost complete reliance on plastics."

Featured speakers include Eugenie Sage, Dr Rachel Chiaroni-Clarke, Professor Ian Shaw, and our closing speakers Riley and Steve Hathaway. We are particularly excited to be working with Riley, Steve, and Jo, and are so inspired by the incredible work they do with young people and the oceans.

We are equally thrilled to partner with the Wright Family Foundation as Gold Sponsors for a second year. The Foundation was a key player in the success of our 2019 conference, and we are sure that they will play a similarly key role this July. Thank you so much for your support; this conference would not be possible without you! For more information, please visit


Graeme Dingle Foundation Western Bay of Plenty

-Project K - Transforming young lives forever

The transformation of young lives, brought about by this organisation, is heart-warming.

The Graeme Dingle Foundation Western Bay of Plenty will be supporting Te Puke rangatahi through an exciting community-referred Project K scholarship programme. The programme addresses the challenges faced from Covid-19, including the undue stress and risk of disconnection from education. A big thanks to the Akonga fund through The Ministry of Youth Development.

The fund will make a big difference, supporting 12 Te Puke youth in 2021 and 36 in 2022 onwards. This will be done through a Wilderness Adventure Community Challenge, giving back to community, and mentoring one on one with a trained mentor.

Our rangatahi will go into the wilderness in April for three weeks. There, they’ll be challenged, travelling 180km by kayak, bike and hiking. This will be a journey of self-discovery.

We hope to see dramatic reductions in anxiety in our young people, discovering how resilient they really are, and becoming the best versions of themselves.

In Tauranga, 10 alumni began University in 2020 and six have recently completed degrees.

Our rangatahi sum up their Project K experience by saying “I used to cry all the time, and I don’t now” and “Project K literally saved my life”.

Mothers Matter

There’s been an extraordinary outpouring of support for our recent campaign. Tired of waiting for positive change, the Mothers Matter campaign swept onto TV screens recently.

The film – Who Holds Our Mothers? – was born out of a commitment to our nation’s future success, out of passion, frustration, and an overwhelming desire to bring recognition of the withdrawal of basic humanitarian care for our mothers.

We’ve been inundated with messages from mothers, fathers, friends, sisters, brothers and grandparents. Each story is one of personal tragedy, of a life half lived or cut short. We’ve received countless messages thanking us for beginning the public discussion about our shameful maternal care and lack of postnatal depression support. Many have said they at last feel free to begin to express their private pain.

This catastrophic failure has happened under the watch of successive governments in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Only the Government can create the policy changes that will provide the support for mothers and parents, they are the first teachers and role models to our children.

The consequence is failure of so many of our people to thrive and reach their potential in an outwardly egalitarian society. Our intention is to bring about policy change that reflects first world countries' recognition that meaningful support in the critical period of the ‘first thousand days’ not only saves lives, but is of utmost importance to the integrity of the family unit and the nation’s economic future.

We have irrefutable scientific evidence that foetal brain development is impacted by lack of good nutrition, substance abuse, and stress, in the early stages and throughout pregnancy. We have evidence that the lack of health checks for mothers leads to perinatal and long tern postnatal mental health issues. Research here and universally shows, simply put, well mother, well child.

We recognised that a ‘circuit breaker’ needed to be put forward, Who Holds Our Mothers? has been recognised as just that. This is a discussion that needs to be had within our communities and with transparency by the policy makers, the Government. Only they can create policy change.

The day we launched this campaign we put the government on notice – to give to New Zealand mothers, what is rightfully theirs – a dignified, valued and caring pregnancy, birth and aftercare.


Act as if what you do makes a difference.


William James

The Virtuoso Strings Charitable Trust

We love the mahi of this incredible organisation, and are especially excited about their upcoming publication.

Our Trust was established in 2013. Its mission is to generate social benefit through an accessible, inclusive, and holistic music education programme. It seeks to create a supportive environment which nurtures the talent of all your students, helping them develop strong peer and community connections and build an enduring sense of self-worth.

Thanks to the wonderful support from the Wright Family Foundation and other funders we are continuing to develop the capability and capacity of Virtuoso Strings. In March we moved into our first ever commercial office and practice space - something we have been looking forward to for years!  We also have undertaken an organisational restructure and recruited new administrative expertise to the team. The next big step is to train more music teachers in the Virtuoso Strings way.

Our Schools Programme continues to be very popular. Many schools and students are on the waiting list to join. Younger students are preparing for Trinity music exams and looking forward to an orchestra trip later in the year. The older students are now immersed in rehearsing their chamber music for June competitions and preparing a programme for the upcoming trip to Rotorua.

Lastly (but wonderfully!), The Virtuoso Strings photobook – O Matou Malaga (Our Voyage) - is at printers!

The Wright Family Foundation supports Brainwave Trust to reach families and communities. Most recently the Foundation supported Brainwave to reach those in a Community Corrections setting.

Brainwave Trust Aotearoa exists to grow understanding of what happens inside our tamaiti’s brain as they experience life and love.   We break down what the science tells us is happening and how we can all create positive outcomes for healthy brain development with our tamariki / mokopuna.

This information is shared through scientific articles, but mostly through face to face workshops with people.  We reach a wide range of audiences from professionals (education, health, justice and social services) to whānau in the community, secondary students and people incarcerated in prison. 

We work alongside professionals so that they respond with this knowledge in mind about children and their whānau.  This wide spectrum of audiences reaches those who need validation that they are parenting well, to those who find the knowledge enlightening or even triggering, as they recognize the impact of their own early experiences on the trajectory of their lives. 

What is powerful is the recognition that we can all do things to enhance babies’ brain development – love literally grows brains.  The Wright Family Foundation supports Brainwave to reach families and communities. Most recently it supported us to reach those in a Community Corrections setting.

Our work inside prisons is alongside another organization, the Storytime Foundation.  Whilst our offerings remain stand alone, our intent was to show that an alignment of programme delivery would provide a better and deeper understanding of what happens to a baby’s brain and what can be done to support and grow this.

Brainwave offers two programmes in a prison setting; Growing Great Brains, and Tiakina te Tamaiti (for Māori participants) and the outcomes are aligned to the Hokai Rangi strategy.  Many participants express a profound impact on receiving this knowledge, along with a desire to do things differently for their children.

 Join us on Facebook 

The Wright Family Foundation Facebook page is a hub of positivity where we share the “growing the good” message, and we’d love you to join us there.

We share interesting articles and snippets about fantastic organisations and people who share our values.

The page is a great resource which makes it easy for you to share the Love Grows Brains messages and videos on your own Facebook page.

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