Back to top anchor

Brought to you by Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora – Southern and WellSouth primary health network

Open main menu Close main menu

Connecting Communities funding opens for autumn wellbeing initiatives

Issue date:

A fifth round of funding for local mental wellbeing initiatives is set to give Southern Lakes communities a boost during the autumn season.

Run by Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group, the Connecting Communities fund supports community-led activities and events across Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell, and Te Anau/Fiordland which encourage people to connect, look after themselves and each other, and have some fun.

The next funding round opens on 20 February and closes on 2 March.  Eligible not-for-profit organisations and groups can apply for up to $1,000 to assist with funding their activity or event.

Broadly, the criteria includes positively engaging with the local community; supporting mental wellbeing; aligning with one or more of the Five Ways to Wellbeing and Te Whare Tapa Wha; and being locally delivered in Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell or Te Anau/Fiordland.

Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group Chair Adell Cox believes the autumn months will be a great opportunity for communities to take some time out after a busy summer season and really focus on their wellbeing.

“We’re moving into a new normal but are still experiencing significant challenges which are impacting on people’s mental health.  Now more than ever it’s important to keep people well and support initiatives that build social connection and resilience and help our communities not just survive, but thrive,” Ms Cox said.

In November 2022, 54 initiatives from across Queenstown, Wānaka, Te Anau/Fiordland and Cromwell received funding totalling more than $50,000.

Recipients included the Fiordland Community Kai volunteering initiative, Age Concern’s brain health seminar for over 65s, Cromwell Community House Christmas BBQ for vulnerable older residents, LUMA wellbeing workshops for schools, Happiness House gardening group materials, MINT Trust’s music therapy workshop for Central Otago people with intellectual disabilities, and Head Light Trust’s ‘Let's Chalk about Mental Health Queenstown’ project, as well as various cultural get-togethers and community Christmas events.  A full list is available online.

Details about the next Connecting Communities funding round, including the criteria and how to apply, can be found at

More information

The funding for Connecting Communities is made possible through the Government’s Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery, and Re-Set Plan funding which is administered by Te Whatu Ora- Southern and directed by the Te Hau Toka Southern Lakes Wellbeing Group.

The Government fund focuses on the tourism-dependent Queenstown Lakes and Fiordland communities, however Te Hau Toka has also included Cromwell in its catchment as many people work in the Queenstown Lakes area.  The funding is enabling Te Hau Toka to help support, promote and protect the social and mental wellbeing of people living in Queenstown, Wānaka, Cromwell and Te Anau/Fiordland, and assist with addressing the ongoing negative effects of COVID-19.

Te Hau Toka is also working on a range of initiatives across the region in order to direct the MBIE funding to where it’s needed most.  For more information about Te Hau Toka and its members, please visit: