Ministry of Education

Gifted Learners

Tukuna kia rere

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

What is the award about?

This award is for school-aged learners or groups of learners who identify as gifted or have exceptional abilities. It provides money to support you to take part in something you are really interested in, will extend and challenge your learning and support your wellbeing.

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.

More information about giftedness and exceptional abilities can be found at Conceptualising Giftedness - Te hiringa i ngā pūmanawa

What sort of award opportunity can I apply for?

Gifted learners and learners with exceptional abilities have wide ranging skills and interests so the types of opportunities you want to take part in will also be unique to you and your whānau, hapu and iwi. It can mean you working alone or with a group of gifted peers.

Opportunities will probably be above and beyond what happens in your usual learning environment. Examples could include a cultural opportunity. This could be something oratory, for example Ngā Manu Kōrero, or performing arts like Kapa Haka. Your opportunity might involve the arts or design or researching something in depth with a scientist.

Applications for an award need to set out how the award will help you or your group.

Some examples could be how it will:

  • extend and challenge your learning
  • enable you to further develop an exceptional ability
  • support your wellbeing
  • complete a particular project, task or activity.

Who can apply?

This award is for:

  • School-aged learners
  • Individuals who are gifted or have exceptional abilities.
  • Groups who are either gifted or have exceptional abilities (or be influenced or lead by someone who is)
  • 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.


How do I apply?

Applications are currently closed and will reopen on 26 July for the October 2019 award.

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:

Awards are made twice a year; once in April and again in October.

The dates for 2019 are:

April 2019 Awards

Applications open: 25 February
Applications close: 22 March
Awards made: By 26 April

October 2019 Awards

Applications open: 26 July
Applications close: 30 August
Awards made: By 31 October

What does my application need to include?

It is important your application provides information about the following:

  • 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, how you’ll be supported and cared for.
  • Why you want to do this and how it will positively impact your social and emotional wellbeing.
  • The benefit for you and others.
  • The overall cost of the opportunity you want to pursue and the award amount you are seeking.

It also needs to tell us how the award will enable you or your group to:

  • extend and challenge your learning
  • complete a particular project, task or activity
  • support your wellbeing
  • enable you to further develop an exceptional ability.

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

Important things to consider for your application

Consider asking someone who understands your abilities to look over your application to make sure you’ve included everything we’ve asked for.

We want to get a good sense of who you (or your group) are. Tell us about your interests and things you might have been involved in already that give us an idea of what you are passionate about.

Remember to let your passion and enthusiasm shine!


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. But 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.
  • Clarify what support you will need to participate in the opportunity and how this will be provided if your application is successful. For example, supervision, transport, access to technology or other support.
  • It must be clear that the opportunity will be an appropriate environment for you and if there are any measures in place to ensure you are supported.

Contact for queries or more information

For any queries or more information please email


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 decide which will receive an award.

We will get in touch with everyone who has applied to confirm the outcome of their application, approximately 4-6 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?

There is no fixed amount because the types of opportunities are often very different. Awards can be made to either contribute to the cost of an opportunity or to fund it completely. They can range anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. All applications are assessed by the panel based on how well the opportunity will:

  • extend and challenge your learning
  • complete a particular project, task or activity
  • support your wellbeing
  • enable you to further develop an exceptional ability.

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

Look over the suggestions in the application information about things to consider when making your application. 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.