First Nations’ Futures

COVID-19 update

Due to the implications of COVID-19, applications will not be taken for 2020.
For 2021 application information please visit:

Applications are usually taken from beginning April – end May.
For all enquiries contact [email protected]

The First Nations’ Futures Programme provides an unrivalled opportunity for aspiring Ngāi Tahu leaders to gain access to leading international research and thinking within a uniquely indigenous context. The programme has a strong theoretical basis with an emphasis on indigenous economies, science and environmental management.

The First Nations’ Futures Programme is an international alliance between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, the Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii and Stanford University. Further participating institutions are Sea Alaska, University of Otago and the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre at the University of Canterbury.

Ngāi Tahu supports up to three programme placements each year. The successful applicants will travel to Stanford alongside two University of Canterbury students and one University of Otago student.

“The First Nations’ Futures Programme provided a unique environment to explore and compare experiences between the different cohorts from Te Waipounamu, Alaska and Hawaii. Personally, the course pushed me to consider how I can contribute to Kāi Tahu whānui in a meaningful way that will create real change with lasting benefits. The course challenged everyone with the question of “Who are you?” and how answering this question can give direction when facing the issues that our cultures tackle, as well as helping to guide us into the future.”

Tasman Gillies (Ngāi Tahu – Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke), First Nations’ Futures Programme Participant

Key Information

The First Nations’ Futures Programme is held at Stanford University for two weeks in October/November every year. Applications usually close in May and are advertised via the Ngāi Tahu and University of Canterbury websites.

We welcome applications from those who:

  • Are a registered member of Ngāi Tahu
  • Are ambitious with established long-term community relationships and a solid cultural background
  • Are an undergraduate student who intends further academic study and who intends a career which will build capacity within their communities and whānau, in areas of value to their community

Applicants will need to outline a tribal programme/kaupapa they wish to parent and lead within the tribe that relates to the tribal economy/development. We encourage you to provide relevant supporting documentation which may include letters from your whānau, rūnanga, academic institution, or current employer.

For more information visit, or contact the University of Canterbury Ngāi Tahu Research Centre – [email protected] or phone 03 369 5527