What We Do



Responding To Communities

Sir John McKenzie who set up the J R McKenzie Trust in 1940 wanted to improve the quality of life of New Zealanders. This purpose, insightful for its time and set out in its Trust Deed, allows the Trust Board to make donations for any charitable or educational purposes it wishes to select.

It does this by responding to grant applications received twice a year from registered charities, community groups and non-government organisations seeking funding.

Over time the focus and the language of the Trust has expanded and changed  but the current vision statement  of contributing to achieving a  “A socially just and inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand” is still aligned with Sir John’s and later Sir Roy Mc Kenzie’s original purpose.

Today our key areas of focus are disadvantaged children and their families, and Māori development. Other issues of social justice that require community mobilisation and advocacy can also be funded.

To apply for our funding or to meet our current grantees click here.

Our Strategy

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Our Programmes



  • Connecting Education and Communities

    CEC aims to disrupt disadvantage by working with innovative, locally-led initiatives to strengthen the connections between communities and education. The CEC project is proactively funded by the JR McKenzie Trust.

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  • Peter McKenzie Project

    The J R McKenzie Trust recently established the Peter McKenzie Project – a project and fund dedicated to reducing child and family poverty in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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  • Te Kāwai Toro

    Te Kāwai Toro was established in 2003 by the J R McKenzie Board as a strategic response to lead, proactively address and enable Māori Development. The catalyst was a review that identified an under representation of Māori in J R McKenzie Trust’s philanthropic activities.

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Annual Reports


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Stories and Learnings



  • Face to Face Reporting

    The J R McKenzie Trust instigated face-to-face roundtable reporting in 2016 as a way to engage with grantees as they shared their experiences around the mahi they had undertaken during the funding period. This approach replaced the more traditional written reports, and offered benefits to all involved that weren’t previously available.

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  • Jan Owen Presentation on the New Work Order

    Every young person and everyone who knows a young person should watch this. The workforce and the way people work is changing and we need to be ready. Check out this amazing video of a presentation from Jan Owen on the New Work Order. The J R McKenzie Trust in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth Development invited Jan to deliver this address.