Why First Foundation

Make an Impact >

Schools and Students




Women leading change

First Foundation is celebrating the launch of the Gattung Foundation. The new organisation’s mission is “to lift children and people out of poverty; lift women out of situations of inequality, hardship or violence; lift young women, Māori and Pasifika into futures of leadership and empowerment; and lift animals into better lives. “

Angela and Theresa Gattung

584 young women

We’re delighted that the Gattung Foundation has recognised our work as a cycle breaker for Māori and Pasifika women. Of the 900 scholars First Foundation has supported over the last two decades, 584 have been for young women.

Businesswoman and entrepreneur Theresa Gattung won’t put an exact figure on what the Gattung Foundation will give away other than to say it will be in the “tens of millions of dollars”.

First Foundation scholar Vika Tupou has already benefited from the Gattung Foundation’s generosity.

Vika Tupou
Tupou, who came from Tonga with her family to start Year 9 at Taita College in Wellington, is one of eight children and the first in her family to attend university. The 19-year-old says starting a new university in a strange city, not to mention the workload, was “stressful”.

“The Gattung Foundation gave me the extra push I needed to go for engineering, and I’m really glad I did.”

Looking ahead, Tupou says she would like to complete a Master’s Degree, work for an engineering company in New Zealand, and one day return to Tonga to help with projects there.

You can find out more about the Gattung Foundation here.