Our story

The Ākina Foundation is New Zealand’s principal intermediary for social enterprise and have been named the strategic partner to Government in the development of the Social Enterprise sector.

At Ākina, we believe that social entrepreneurs and social enterprise are key to building an economy that regenerates the environment and creates social foundations for our people and communities to thrive.

Our vision is for a sustainable, prosperous, inclusive New Zealand and world. We exist to transform New Zealand’s economy, and will do this by harnessing the power of enterprise for positive social and environmental progress, through:

  • Supporting, growing, and empowering the social enterprise sector
  • Influencing and enabling impact across the country

We also work with civil society, government, business, and philanthropic partners to advance strategies and broader thinking that relate to social impact, innovation, and inclusive economic development.

The people who work for Ākina are in service to those who strive to realise a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive world.

In support of social enterprise, we call for bold action, lead by example, and commit to our values: being honest, ambitious, determined, ingenious, collaborative, and humble.

Our history

In 2008, the Todd and Tindall Foundations established the Hikurangi Foundation to support practical action on climate change and the environment. We funded and supported a wide range of grassroots and community-led innovation across New Zealand.

Over time, we started to see that social enterprise could provide a powerful and proven vehicle for driving transformation and change. Hikurangi’s mission evolved to focus on five impact areas (transport; housing; consumption & waste; land and ecosystems; energy), and we built an incubation model that supported a range of social enterprises and social entrepreneurs throughout the country.

In early 2014, the Government announced funding to expand our incubation and development services for high potential social enterprise across New Zealand, and set out a position statement on social enterprise for the country.

In May 2014, we broadened our mission and adopted a new name for our foundation, Ākina, to help us describe the next chapter in our story.