The Matata Initiative, set up through the generosity of Dick Earle and his late wife Mary, aspires to support more Māori and Pasifika young people into professional careers in engineering and technology. Through the generosity of the Earles, the Foundation anticipates it will be able to offer funding for the Initiative of least $250,000 annually for a 20-year period from 2024.

Call for proposals

A Selection and Monitoring Committee established by the Foundation is seeking proposals for programmes. The committee will evaluate these and recommend the funding of particular programmes to the Foundation Board of Trustees. The first call for proposals is in 2023, with registrations of interest requested by 24 August, and submission of finalised programme bids by 14 October 2023. Funding decisions are expected by the end of November 2023, with funded programmes expected to commence in early 2024. There will be annual monitoring of funded programmes and those demonstrating reasonable success can expect their funding to run for up to three calendar years.

Expressions of interest have now closed

Background to the Matata Initiative

While teaching at the Native School in Matata in the Bay of Plenty in the early 1900s, Dick’s mother, Eileen Ramsay, was dismayed at the differences between the quality of education delivered by the grammar schools that served non-Māori communities and the native schools that served the Māori population at that time. At a later time, she discussed her concerns with her own children, emphasising the importance of equitable education opportunities and that not all children had access to the same learning in Aotearoa New Zealand.

That seed, sown over a century ago, grew into the aspirations of Dick and his wife Mary. Professor Dick Earle DistFEngNZ – a former president of Engineering New Zealand – remembers discussing with his mother the limited professional opportunities for rangatahi. Throughout their academic careers in engineering and technology, which spanned four decades from the 1960s, Dick and his late wife Professor Mary Earle HonFEngNZ continued to be concerned that few Māori and Pasifika young people studied engineering or technology to a professional level.

In 2023, the Engineering New Zealand Foundation is pleased to launch the Matata Initiative, funded by the Professors Earle. The express purpose of the initiative is to lift the numbers of Māori and Pasifika young people who undertake four-year degrees in engineering or technology and go on to launch professional careers in those industries.

Read the full story behind the Initiative and how it will work

If you need more information to help you prepare an expression of interest or programme proposal, please contact