Pacific Education Innovation Fund

The Pacific Education Innovation Fund part of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and invests $28.5m over four years (2020/21 to 2023/24) that specifically targets innovative practices that support Pacific learners’ wellbeing and curriculum needs, which have been affected by COVID-19, including in Pacific bilingual and immersion education.

The Innovation fund is distributed to early learning services, schools, tertiary providers, community groups, providers and researchers to:

  • Respond to local wellbeing and curriculum needs of Pacific learners and families arising from and/or exacerbated by COVID-19, including in Pacific bilingual and immersion education.
  • Support delivery of Pacific Bilingual and Immersion Education in a COVID-19 response and recovery context.
  • Resource innovative education practices and learn what works for Pacific learners.

Round 4

Round 4 funding distribution as follows:

  1. working with existing providers and projects to continue or expand their provision in each fund or
  2. looking to support new projects and may ask for proposals for new projects.

We expect that bilingual and immersion education projects clearly demonstrate links to Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum, where appropriate.

For Round 4, funding has been distributed to existing providers so they can continue to deliver services and activities and/ or extend their services into other locations and recipients. Distribution will be based on the evidence and data gathered by the regional offices that confirms that each provider is:

  • Meeting or exceeding delivery of outputs in funding agreements.
  • Working effectively within and among diverse Pacific families.
  • Providing evidence on the impact their services and activities have on Pacific learners’ engagement in education.
  • Enabling feedback to be given from learners and their families, and the communities they live in.
  • Evidence identifying any success factors.

Budget and Regional allocations

The Pacific Education Innovation Fund is distributed to locally based places of learning, educators, researchers and academics, and community groups and providers. This fund is used to respond to well-being and curriculum needs of Pacific learners and families arising from and/or exacerbated by COVID-19. Within the Innovation Fund there are two pools of funding:

  1. $2.5m for innovative practices in Pacific bilingual and immersion education provision in early learning services and schools; or
  2. $3.5m for innovative practices to meet wellbeing and curriculum needs relating to Pacific education.

A total of $6m is distributed each year up to 30 June 2024.

Regional Allocation of funding

There is $6m available across 10 regions in 2022/23. The funding has been distributed as follows:


Wellbeing and curriculum funding stream

Bilingual and immersion funding stream

Total Round 4 (2023/24) Allocation

Tai Tokerau












Bay of Plenty




Taranaki, Manawatu, Whanganui





Hawke's Bay, Tairāwhiti








Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast




Canterbury, Chatham Islands




Otago Southland




*Note that:

  • Regional Funding allocations are based on the distribution of the total Pacific learner population.
  • Funding within the Pacific bilingual and immersion education pool is weighted towards Auckland to recognise the concentration of bilingual and immersion education in that region.
  • In the bilingual and immersion stream, priority is given to providers who have an existing relationship with an early learning centre or school with existing Pacific bilingual and immersion education programmes, including community applicants.

Monitoring and reporting

All providers must report on the progress of their initiative.


All funds are expected to be committed in agreements by 1 August 2023

Frequently asked questions

What are some examples of successful initiatives currently funded?

Pacific Liaisons

Dedicated Pacific liaison staff have been partially or fully funded from the Pacific Education Innovation Fund (PEIF) to help lift Pacific cultural capability within Early Learning centres, Primary, Intermediate and Secondary schools across Aotearoa, New Zealand. Pacific Liaisons are also utilised to help support to build relationships with families and communities and schools.

Pacific Liaisons are working in various ways to help their respective schools preserve Pacific languages through utilising the Pacific Language Weeks. The liaisons also champion a holistic approach to learner attendance and engagement as they serve as a bridge between families and schools and raise the presence and importance of diversity and inclusion in their schooling environments.

The overall aim for many of the Pacific liaisons is to ensure that Pacific learners come to school feeling that their languages, cultures, and identities are acknowledged and embraced.

Language is your identity Beginners’ Samoan

Education Perfect, Christchurch recently launched this groundbreaking digital resource that will introduce gagana Sāmoa to classrooms across Aotearoa, New Zealand.

A free beginners’ course of 30 immersive lessons designed to foster a deeper connection to Samoan heritage among students.

By participating in this free Samoan language course, it will enable school’s to:

  • Strengthen the bond between students, families, and the wider Samoan community.
  • Cultivate a sense of cultural pride and belonging.
  • Enhance teachers' cultural competency through professional development.
  • Align with Tapasā and the Government's Action Plan for Pacific Education.

As the former Minister for Pacific Peoples, Hon. Aupito William Sio, eloquently stated, "The cornerstone of our Pacific cultures, identities, and place in Aotearoa, New Zealand are our Pacific languages. They are at the heart of our well-being."

[Register to try our free lessons here(external link)]

Sisters United

Sisters United is a Youth organisation founded by the Goebel sisters building self-confidence, self-esteem, and positive wellbeing through educational workshops and creative delivery within Auckland schools and community. Sisters United runs a peer-mentoring wellbeing programme for Pasifika young women called ‘Crown Yourself’ within 24 Auckland schools reaching over 500 students. Using creative arts including dance, art, and spoken word; they address issues such as body image, relationships, and social media, all in a safe and fun space facilitated by trained peer-mentors within their own schools.

In addition, Sisters United run Youth employment programmes for 16–24-year-old disengaged youth and have recently added a Brothers United arm to the family facilitating programmes for Pasifika young men within schools and the community.

In2it Fitness Limited

In2it Tamariki is a programme for Primary school aged students that applies fitness activities as a platform to build confidence, leadership, team building skills and perseverance that contributes to their overall wellbeing. The programme is a way to encourage ākonga to attend and stay engaged at school.

Students will learn how:

  • to create safe and healthy relationships, make informed decisions and are better prepared when transitioning from Primary through to Secondary.
  • Mindset is another concept the programme focuses on with Pacific learners which teaches them how to win and lose with honour and empowers them to give things a go and that failing is okay if they get back up and try again.

An excursion is included in part of the programme to provide opportunities for learners to experience places and activities that they might not ever to get to experience such as Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, public parks, reserves and Patu. This opens up the world in the eyes of Pacific learners and the endless possibilities of where their education could take them.

What requirements do service providers need to meet?

  • All organisations funded for this work must be legal entities and registered with the companies office.
  • All organisations funded for this work must have satisfactory processes in place to complete police checks and vetting prior to commencing work particularly if working with children covered under the Children Act 2014.
  • All organisations funded for this work must have a written policy in place which meets the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
  • Organisations must be a Pacific health or social sector provider, community organisation or community group providing services in the region covered by the service provision.
  • The group includes a person of 18 years of age or older.
  • All organisations funded for this work must also have policies and processes in place for any personal client information being held which meets the requirements of the Privacy Act 1993.
  • All material risks must be identified to the Ministry of Education. pending litigation.
  • All suppliers must declare any convictions that could compromise the contract.
  • Members of your group are New Zealand citizens or permanent residents and reside in New Zealand.
  • The innovation will be designed and delivered in New Zealand and will support learners and families of Pacific heritage.
  • The innovation meets the education-related curriculum and/or wellbeing needs of learners.
  • Any products or resources developed using the funding will be made freely available to Pacific learners and their families.
  • The group has no outstanding financial, legal or other issues (i.e. bankruptcy, legal challenges etc.).

What types of providers can be funded for this work?

  1. A Community group or organisation, including churches.
  2. Researchers and academics affiliated to a tertiary institution or research institute.
  3. Education and social sector providers.
  4. A group or representative group of early learning centres, schools and/or tertiary providers and their learners. This can include:
    • Groups of students connected to a school, tertiary provider, or community group/organisation
    • Groups of parents and families connected to an early learning centre, school, tertiary provider, or community group/organisation.
    • A Kāhui Ako representing a cluster of schools, early learning settings and/or tertiary institutions.

What projects are eligible for funding?

Innovation Fund

We are always looking for creative, collaborative and different ways of delivering education for Pacific learners and families that reduce the impacts of COVID-1 on their education, including:

  • Unique and specialised Pacific teaching and learning models for Pacific learners and families to implement or scale up
  • Creating or expanding unique curriculum resources for groups of Pacific learners and families
  • Programmes or projects that meet unmet education and wellbeing needs by Pacific for Pacific.

Funding used to support Innovative practices to meet wellbeing and curriculum needs relating to Pacific education could include projects that focus on:

  • Embedding and expanding innovative models of curriculum delivery
  • Developing new, innovative curriculum resources, including multimedia, online and audio resources
  • Developing new programmes and delivery models to support re- engagement in education in a service, school, or tertiary provider
  • Delivering programmes or projects to meet wellbeing needs.

Pacific bilingual and immersion education

Bilingual and immersion education is where learners and families accessing education and learning are aligned to the national curricula through a Pacific language. It does not include learning a Pacific language as a second language.

  • Bilingual education is where a Pacific language is used as the language of instruction or delivery of learning at least 50% of the time.
  • Immersion education is where a Pacific language is used as the language of instruction or delivery of learning at least 80% of the time.
  • Pacific languages are the indigenous languages of the Pacific region.

What is not funded by the Innovation Fund?

  • Direct activities already run by early learning services, schools, and tertiary providers.
  • Direct service provision to meet material or welfare needs i.e. food provision.
  • For-profit activities and/or any fundraising activities.
  • Initiatives not aligned with the priorities of this fund.
  • Programmes and activities occurring overseas, including in the NZ realm countries.
  • Infrastructure.
  • Capital equipment must not be purchased with this funding. The Ministry of Education may allow for appropriate leasing of essential (e.g. of laptops) items at its discretion.
  • Overseas travel. 

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