Ministry of Education

Gifted Learners

Tukuna kia rere

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

The first round of 2021 gifted learner award applications has now closed. A second round will open later in the year.

What are the awards about?

Learner Awards 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.

Do you need a challenge? Are you always asking questions and wondering why?

We have awards that can support your learning and challenge you to try something new, or extend yourself in areas you’re already be involved in. This will be unique to you and your whānau, hapu or iwi. You can apply on your own, or join up with some friends or classmates and apply as a group. Past awards have supported learners with art supplies and lessons, cultural development, science camps, STEM fees, an environmental club, chess tournaments, sports tournaments and coaching, supporting a music internship, gym classes, dancing and other theatrical performances, leadership development and more. Be creative! The awards are available for gifted learners from early childhood to school leaving age. Funding will be given for a 12 month period maximum.

*Due to the impact of COVID and closed borders we will only consider travel within New Zealand for the foreseeable future.

What we look for in the applications?

G-ood opportunity to learn something new

I-nnovative learners

F-ostering wellbeing

T-amariki choices

E-ducational fun


N-urturing young minds and talent

E-ncouraging exceptional learners

S-upporting exceptional abilities

S-kill building


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.


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 can apply?

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 per 12 months.


How do I apply?

Awards are made twice a year. When the application round is open, the link will be available at the top of this page.

You can provide your application in writing or you might prefer to submit a video – however you can best tell your story.

Written applications should not exceed 5 pages of an A4 document. Video clips should not last any longer than 5 minutes. The panel will not consider material that is outside of these limits.

Please contact us with any questions about the application process by email to our awards mailbox:

What does my application need to include?

Your application must include the following elements:

  • A proposal, either in writing or by video. The proposal must include budget information.
  • A statement from a supportive adult
  • Verified bank account evidence. This must include the name on the bank account, address, and account number, and must be signed or stamped by the bank. example

It is important that your proposal provides the following information:

  • What the award is for. Include as much information as you can about the 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’ll be supported during the opportunity.
  • Describe what you want to do and how the opportunity will:

    • extend and challenge your learning

    • develop your exceptional ability

    • support your wellbeing

    • complete a particular project, task or activity

  • Tell 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 get a good sense of who you are.

  • The overall cost of the opportunity and the award amount you are seeking. An indicative budget is helpful, if there are multiple components to what you want funded.

  • Remember you have the right to access to your personal information after you have submitted it. You can also correct your personal information. Just contact us through

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. Check that you have included your name and contact details and have a parent or guardian who has signed your application.

Remember to let your passion and enthusiasm shine!

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


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 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.
  • 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.

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.

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.

How much can I apply for?

The maximum amount you can apply for is $3,500.00. Awards can either contribute to the cost of an opportunity or to fund it completely.

Can I apply for funding for MindPlus Fees?

Yes, you may apply for one term of MindPlus per 12 months. With the current MindPlus fees, that is a total award of $750.

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

Look over the suggestions of things to consider when making your application and edit unnecessary information – get someone to help you. Remember, the panel can’t consider material that’s beyond 5 pages of typed A4 or 5 minutes video time.

I’m under 18 do I need someone to sign my application?

Yes you will need a parent or guardian to sign your application.

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 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 to school leaving age. They are available for New Zealand residents, New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand.

When do the awards open?

The Awards usually open on 1 February and 1 August each year. Keep watching this site for more information.

How often do the awards run? We have two rounds of awards per year – usually opening in February and August. Keep watching this website – when the awards open, it will be posted.

How do I apply? You can provide your application in writing or by video – however you can tell your best story. Written applications shouldn’t exceed 5 pages of an A4 Word doc and videos shouldn’t last longer than 5 mins.

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

The awards are open to gifted learners and can be applied for by the learners themselves, their parents, whānau or teacher. 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?

The last round of awards saw gifted learners being able to engage in a wide range of interests including robotics, music, problem-solving, languages and science research. 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.

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