Photo by Yathursan Gunaratnam on Unsplash

Science Journalism Fund – first round of 2021 awarded

Two projects have been funded through the first 2021 round of the Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund.

Taonga under threat funded by Ngā Rākau Taketake

$5,000 to Liam Rātana and Zoe Madden-Smith from Re:News for their project “Colonisers nearly wiped out kauri. Now, Māori are fighting to use traditional knowledge to bring the trees back from a new threat – kauri dieback”.

$3,000 for Jenny Leonard for her project “New Zealand’s remarkable myrtles and the community protecting them” – publication outlet TBC.

Ngā Rākau Taketake – a Bioheritage National Science Challenge programme aimed at restoring and protecting connections between Māori and other New Zealanders with kauri and myrtaceae trees.

No applications were received for the theme Natural disasters don’t have to be disastrous.

The fund is currently being evaluated and will look to respond to any suggested changes to improve application rates – in the meantime, any informal feedback is welcomed at

The four judges for this round were Dr Tara Ross from the University of Canterbury, Associate Professor Rebecca Priestley, Professor James Renwick from Victoria University of Wellington, and Dacia Herbulock from the Science Media Centre.

Since the fund’s launch in 2017, over $100,000 has been distributed to fund more than 35 projects covering topics from sea level rise to data privacy, robots in healthcare and gene editing.

In 2020, the fund ran a special round focused on quickly funding COVID-19-related projects.

You can read more about completed projects here.

About the Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund

The Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund is the first independent journalism fund dedicated to furthering coverage of the science-related issues that impact New Zealanders. The fund was set up by Rebecca Priestley, winner of the 2016 Prime Minister’s Science Communicator’s Prize, in association with the Science Media Centre, to support journalism that highlights the science that underpins, or informs, major issues facing our society.

Any organisations wanting to support the fund, please contact: