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Marking a Milestone: Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou and First Foundation Unite for Transformative Youth Development

Three young leaders have just been granted a life-altering opportunity.


In a hui, Tuhi Leef, the General Manager of Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou, and Kirk Sargent, the CEO of First Foundation, awarded the rangatahi with First Foundation scholarships, recognising their academic rigour and dedication! Through this innovative partnership with First Foundation, three incredible rangatahi—Rose-Marie, Juliann, and Tayshon—from the Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou Youth Advisory Panel are the beyond-deserving scholarship recipients.


A First Foundation scholarship is fortified by three key pillars - mentoring, financial assistance and an introduction to the professional world. With these scholarships, they will receive financial assistance and wraparound support over the next four years as they transition from school to university and into the workforce.


Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou and First Foundation's first scholarship announcement
Kirk Sargent, Corrina Thompson, Tuhi Leef, Milly Whitefoot with Rose-Marie, Juliann and Tayshon

This new partnership with First Foundation is genuinely transformative, opening doors to opportunity and reshaping futures for many rangatahi to come. These scholarships can change the whakapapa of rangatahi at Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou, in line with First Foundation’s mission of strengthening the pathways, opportunities and choices that empower young people. At Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou, we couldn't think of anyone more deserving than Rose-Marie, Juliann and Tayshon.


Transformative Opportunities for Rangatahi


Over the past year, Rose-Marie, Juliann and Tayshon dedicated themselves to the Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou Ngā Rangatira Mō Āpōpō or Youth Advisory Panel. Their unique voices, growing up with whānau in prison, have significantly contributed to broader transformative justice conversations and advocacy.


Their work includes contributing to the United Nations Bill of Rights and Youth Mental Health Reserve, giving feedback to the Office of the Inspectorate and the Raise the Age Criminal Responsibility Campaign and participating in the Youth Crime Conference.


Corrina Thompson, overseeing Youth Advocacy and Programme Development at Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou, facilitates the Youth Advisory Panel and acknowledges their remarkable dedication:

"These outstanding rangatahi have their sights set on careers that give back to their communities- in youth mental health, criminal law, screen arts and social work, with an appreciation for the importance of te ao Māori and lived experience in these fields."

At Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou, we believe children of people in prison are Children of Promise and Potential. Aligning with this belief, First Foundation's vision is for an Aotearoa New Zealand where all people can succeed, thrive and lead.


A First Foundation scholarship is not your traditional scholarship. It is unique in offering wraparound support and pastoral care throughout the four-year programme and is underpinned by three pillars:


  • Mentoring - a carefully matched and dedicated mentor walks alongside each student as they journey from high school to university, into the workforce and beyond.

  • Financial assistance - A First Foundation scholarship helps minimize student debt by helping with university and other study-related expenses.

  • Exposure to the world of work - helps students grow their confidence, skills, and networks in a professional environment while also earning money. Work experience provides a ‘foot in the door’ and an insight into a world beyond high school and university.

  • A community of other First Foundation scholars, alumni and future leaders


The First Foundation scholarships not only cover study fees but also offer pillars of support for students. This wraparound approach is crucial in transforming the lives of the three deserving rangatahi, their whānau and, ultimately, their whakapapa.


Bright Futures Ahead


"Waiho i te toipoto, kaua i te toiroa"

Let us keep close together, not wide apart


There is power in a collective group of people with a united mission.


Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou's mission envisions positive futures for the tamariki of people serving a sentence. First Foundation gives talented young Kiwis a bright future. We draw from each other's strengths and move forward connected together. This is the catalyst for positive transformation.


We extend our heartfelt gratitude to First Foundation for their shared belief in our united mission and in the young leaders of Ngā Rangatira Mō Āpōpō. We cannot wait for Rose-Marie, Juliann, and Tayshon's journey. Along their haerenga, we at Pillars Ka Pou Whakahou and First Foundation will support them every step of the way.

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