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Community Support

OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE COMMUNITY IS FUNDAMENTAL TO OUR SUCCESS

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COMMUNITY SUPPORT & PARTNERSHIPS

We view community relationships as fundamental to our success. Accordingly, we're committed to building enduring relationships based on mutual respect, active partnership and long-term commitment. We believe it's important for community relationships to actively contribute to enhancing the resiliency and quality of life for the community we live and work in.

This is achieved by establishing and maintaining relationships that contribute positively to the quality of life where we live and work, and by supporting partnerships that are mutually beneficial and deliver long-term sustainable results.

In addition to a biannual sponsorship and donations programme for Southland-based non-profit organisations, we also provide a Community Development Fund with Murihiku Rūnaka, a Tertiary Education Scholarship fund for students studying engineering at university, and a partnership with Southland Girls' High School to encourage young women to pursue careers in the engineering and science fields.

Murihiku Rūnaka and Rio Tinto/NZAS Community Development Fund

The Murihiku Rūnaka and Rio Tinto/NZAS Community Development Fund, established by Murihiku Rūnaka and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, NZAS and Rio Tinto, is now inviting applications for the second round of funding.

The Fund, launched in 2023 as part of a commitment when Murihiku Rūnaka and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, NZAS and Rio Tinto signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2022, allocated the first $1.15 million in its opening round last year, which went to seven worthy projects.

The second and final round is now open and seeking applications from community organisations in Southland that have projects already underway or being planned, working in four areas that reflect the priorities of Rio Tinto, NZAS, Ngāi Tahu, and the wider community:

  • Enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and health and wellbeing outcomes across the community.
  • Inter-generational culture, heritage, conservation, and environmental outcomes.
  • Unlocking human potential and community resilience through education, science and innovation, and workforce development.
  • Contributing to the region’s economic development and climate transition by supporting businesses to expand and new industries to emerge.

Those who applied for funding in 2023 and were unsuccessful are welcome to reapply.

This second round has up to $600,000 to allocate. If a future for the smelter is secured after 2024, then ongoing allocations to the Fund for future rounds are likely.

Important notes

NZAS Sponsorships & Donations programme

We support our community through a twice-yearly funding programme for Southland-based non-profit organisations.
The first round opens on 1 March (closes 30 April).

Funding up to $5,000 can be sought for:

  • Health and safety initiatives
  • Education programmes
  • Sport, recreation and wellbeing activities that support a healthy and active community
  • Cultural activities that promote inclusion and diversity
  • Initiatives that raise awareness of, protect and enhance the environment
  • Activities that acknowledge significant days/events to encourage community connection.

Please see the guidelines/application form for details. Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee approval.

If you have any questions, please contact Andrea Carson, Specialist Communities, NZAS (Andrea.Carson@riotinto.com or 03 218 5440).

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NZAS Tertiary Education Scholarship

This scholarship is open to students from Southland who intend to study engineering at university. Proof of entry into an engineering degree course will be required prior to payment of the scholarship.

The scholarship entitles the recipients to $2,000 in the first year of study. For second and successive years of study, either Christmas vacation employment will be provided (where available and subject to fitness for the role) or a scholarship payment of $2,000 per annum made.

Dependent children of NZAS employees are not eligible to apply for this scholarship.

Link to Download Form

Applicants for the Scholarship must be:

  • from Southland
  • completing Year 13 in 2024
  • undertaking tertiary study for the first time in 2025 at a tertiary institution outside of Southland; or
  • undertaking further study towards an engineering-related discipline


Applications should include:

  • CV
  • 2024 school reports
  • Level 1 & 2 NCEA result notices (NZQA copies – see an example of the format we need here)
  • a photograph of the applicant (passport photo or similar)
  • any other information to support the application

Scholarship application period:
Opens: 1 October, Closes: 31 October

Southland Girls' High School Educational Partnership

The partnership between Southland Girls' High School (SGHS) and NZAS is designed to encourage young women to pursue careers in the engineering and science fields.

NZAS hosted four SGHS students in 2008 as part of the pilot education partnership, and it proved so successful that it is now held annually.

The first day of the girls' six-day placement is spent undertaking inductions on site, spending time with a number of female employees to gain career advice, and participating on a plant tour.

Once inducted, the students then spend the next week working on their chosen projects including gathering, testing and analysing data. At the end of the project week they present their project findings.

Take a look at TV3's Newshub coverage of the 2016 SGHS NZAS placement.

The partnership won the 'Community Initiative of the Year' category of the 2018 Deloitte Energy Awards. Our full entry explains the partnership and the value it brings to the girls who undertake the projects, their school and NZAS.

Cultural Heritage

NZAS has identified 31 cultural heritage places located on land owned and managed by the smelter.

They include sites associated with early Māori settlement such as middens/ovens, burials and an adze (pictured right) workshop, as well as European burials and structures.

Wahi tapu, wahi taoka and mahinga kai are also present on Tiwai Peninsula. A Cultural Heritage Management System Plan is in place.

We recognise and value the status of Te Rūnanga o Awarua as manawhenua of the land on which the smelter is situated. We value their connection to the whenua/land and sharing of their knowledge relating to appropriate care and management of the area.

NZAS Southland Science & Technology Fair

NZAS has been the major sponsor of the annual NZAS Southland Science & Technology Fair since 2003.

The smelter not only provides sponsorship, but also judges and administration support, while an NZAS team members is on the committee.

Students ranging from Years 5 to 13 are required to investigate a topic of their choice using a scientific method of hypothesis, method, test and conclusion.

For further information, please visit: www.southlandsciencefair.co.nz

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