Gifted Learners

Tukuna kia rere

Awards for gifted learners or groups of learners and learners with exceptional abilities

Applications will be open from Friday 1 September to Monday 9 October 2023

Why apply for this award?

Kia ora, Talofa lava, Fakalofa lahi atu, Ni sa bula, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Taloha ni. Greetings and welcome to Awards for Gifted Tamariki and Ākonga.

Are you looking for a challenge? Are you always asking questions and wondering why? Do you want to spend time with a master carver? Would spending time with a highly skilled musician or writer inspire you? Do you have a creative project in mind or a hypothesis you want to test? What would extend your exceptional sporting ability? Do you have an issue to explore with your curious mind?

We have awards that can support your learning and challenge you to try something new, or extend you in areas you’re already involved in. Be creative when thinking about extending yourself. This will be unique to you and your whānau, hapū, iwi or community. You can apply on your own or apply as a group with some friends or classmates.

Out of the box thinkers can make out of the box applications. Make it fun for you.

The awards are available for gifted learners from early childhood until they leave school.

Funding will be given for a 12-month period.

Information for whānau

We can help you keep your tamariki learning and growing. Through these awards we provide funding support for activities that challenge your tamariki and their learning in a way that suits them. As people of Aotearoa, we know that giftedness is culturally diverse and varies within communities. Our purpose is to nurture tamariki learning where individuality and diversity is accepted.

Tips for Teachers

Teachers what else might support your insatiable learners? Encourage your learners to consider these awards that are designed specifically for them. Look for potential as well as demonstrated performance.

Who is eligible to apply for these awards?

These awards are for:

  • Gifted learners from early childhood to school leaving age, including individuals or groups with a common project or activity.
  • New Zealand residents, New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand.

As an applicant, you will need to have the backing of an adult who knows you and understands your abilities and is able to support you to access the opportunity your award will provide money towards.

Please note:

  • You can only receive one award every 12 months.

  • Priority will be given to first-time applicants.


How do I apply?

When the application round is open, the link will be available at the top of this page. The Awards usually open on 1 September each year. Keep watching this site for more information.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact us by email at:

What does my application need to include?

Your application must include the following elements:

Your proposal

  • You can provide your proposal in writing, or you might prefer to submit a video. Use whatever method allows you to best tell your story.

  • The maximum length for a written application is 5 A4 pages.

  • The maximum time for a video clip is 5 minutes.

  • The panel will not consider any material that is longer than those limits.

  • Make your proposal within one document or video. Not more than one attachment, please.

The proposal must:

  • Include an outline of what you want to do. Include as much information as you can about the activity, challenge, or opportunity you want to take part in – who it is run by, when, where, and if others will also take part. If appropriate, include how you will be supported during the opportunity.

  • Include a description of how the opportunity will:

    • extend and challenge your learning, including helping you complete a project, task or activity;
    • develop your exceptional ability. The types of skills and abilities that are thought of as a gift or exceptional talent will vary from culture to culture;
    • positively support your social and emotional wellbeing;
    • develop your connections with other people; and
    • benefit others in your community.
  • Inform us about your interests and things you have been involved with already to give us an idea of what you are passionate about. We want to have a good sense of who you are.

  • Include an outline of the overall cost of the opportunity, an indicative budget, and the total amount you are seeking. If your proposal has more than one activity show how much each will cost.

Video presentation guidelines (if applicable)

Please make sure your video is clear, concise and easy to view. We don’t expect you to have professional filming equipment, so using your phone or computer is absolutely fine. We recommend you review your footage before submitting it, to ensure the sound and image quality is sufficient to get your message across. Avoid submitting anything that’s too shaky, loud or inaudible. We suggest asking a friend or family member to help you with the filming so you can concentrate on telling us your story.


Support from an adult for your application

Your application will need to be supported by someone who knows you or your group’s gift or exceptional ability best. This could be a teacher, kaumatua or specialist in your area of interest. Their support of your application should be included with the information you provide.

It would be helpful if they could cover these points:

  • How they consider you or your group to be gifted or have exceptional abilities.

  • How they consider the opportunity will help you. This could be things like how it will:

    • extend and challenge your learning
    • complete a particular project, task or activity
    • support your wellbeing
    • enable you to further develop your exceptional ability. The types of skills and abilities that are thought of as a gift or exceptional talent will vary from culture to culture.
  • Their confirmation that you’ll have the necessary support to participate in the opportunity you’re applying for. For example, supervision, transport, access to technology or anything else the opportunity requires.

  • It must be clear that the opportunity will be an appropriate environment for you and if there are any measures in place to ensure this.

  • You can upload a maximum of two supporting letters.


Your bank account details

This could be a bank deposit slip or bank statement (should not be more than 3 months old, transaction details can be hidden) signed or stamped by the bank.

See an example here.

It should clearly show the bank logo, bank account number and bank account name. This allows us to verify the bank account.

Important things to consider for your application

  • Get someone who knows you well to look over your application to make sure you’ve included everything we’ve asked for.

  • Remember to let your passion and enthusiasm shine.

  • If you are an adult applying on behalf of a gifted learner or group of learners, ensure that we can get a good sense of the student’s voice or voices throughout the application.

What happens after I submit my application?

We will confirm we have received your application. If necessary, we will ask you for more information or to clarify some parts.

A panel will then meet to review all of the applications and recommend awards.

We will contact you to confirm the outcome of your application, approximately 6 weeks after the applications close.

Privacy Statement

We collect personal information from you, including information about your:

  • name

  • contact information

  • location

We collect your personal information in order to:

  • assess your application for Gifted Learner Award.

  • ask if you wish to participate in any gifted award evaluation.

Besides our staff, we share this information with:

  • Gifted Awards Panel in order to assess the applications.

  • New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education (NZCGE) for learners who receive an award for MindPlus fees.

You have the right to ask for a copy of any personal information we hold about you, and to ask for it to be corrected if you think it is wrong. If you’d like to ask for a copy of your information, or to have it corrected, please contact us at

Frequently asked questions

Can I apply if I don’t have a report that says I am gifted?

You don’t need a report to show that you or your group are gifted or have exceptional abilities. Your application does need to set out what you consider to be your gift or exceptional ability, and include the support of a suitable adult who can testify to your application.

All learners are unique and the types of skills and abilities that are thought of as a gift or exceptional talent will vary from culture to culture.

How much can I apply for?

The maximum amount you can apply for is $2,500 for an individual and $5,000 for a group application. Awards can either contribute to the cost of an opportunity or to fund it completely. The group application must have 3 or more applicants and have a common project that benefits all the group members.

Can I apply for funding for MindPlus Fees?

Yes, you may apply for one term of MindPlus per 12 months. The Ministry of Education will inform New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education (NZCGE) of learners who receive an award for MindPlus fees.

My application is longer than recommended, what should I do?

Look over the list of things needed in the application and remove unnecessary information. Ask someone else to review it for you.

I’m under 18. Do I need an adult’s consent?

Yes, you will need a parent or guardian to give consent. This could be included in your written proposal or uploaded as a support letter.

Who is eligible to apply for these awards?

These awards are for gifted learners or groups of learners who identify as gifted or have exceptional abilities, from early childhood until they leave school. They are available for New Zealand residents, New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand.

When do the awards open?

There is one round of Awards per year. It usually opens 1 September.

How do I apply?

The link to the application form will be available at the top of this page when the award round opens. Attach your proposal, support document and proof of bank account to the form.

Can I apply on behalf of my child or a child in my school/kura?

Yes. Parents, whānau or teachers can apply on behalf of learners. If you are applying on behalf of a student, please note that we will be looking for evidence of the student’s voice or voices throughout the application. The application must be something they want to do.

What sorts of things can I apply to do for this award?

You can apply for anything – as long as you can tell us how it will extend your learning, develop your exceptional ability, and support your wellbeing.

Can I make the application in Te Reo Māori?

Yes. If you wish to submit your application in Te Reo Māori, please contact us at

Is there any other information or support for gifted learners and learners with exceptional abilities?

This website Gifted Education/Tukuna kia rere includes lots of information and links to further support.

Who can I contact if I have more questions about the award?