One of the country's largest iwi groups is giving $100,000 to help thousands of school children in low socio-economic areas.

Waikato-Tainui becomes the first iwi in Aotearoa to link up with children's charity KidsCan, which has been providing food, shoes, clothing and basic healthcare for disadvantaged students since 2005.

A full pōwhiri and signing ceremony will be held this morning, in Auckland, and will see members from Waikato-Tainui, the KidsCan board, politicians and school leaders present.

The Māori King, Tūheitia Paki, will be represented by his eldest son, Te Ariki Tamaroa Whatumoana Paki.


The charity's chief executive, Julie Chapman, said they were excited about the historic collaboration that would help to fulfill their mission to provide the basics for disadvantaged young Kiwis.

"We know Waikato-Tainui is equally dedicated to helping children who are going without the basics get an equal chance at an education,'' Chapman said.

"They understand the importance of supporting their tamariki by improving their well-being, so they can forge successful futures - not only for themselves, but for the benefit of their whānau, iwi and the wider community.''

Over the years, the children's charity has provided over 146,000 pairs of shoes, 22 million food items, 293,000 socks, 305,000 raincoats and 556,000 health and hygiene items.

A total of 709 schools and 171,000 children have benefited.

This particular grant will provide 23 primary, intermediate and high schools from the Waikato and South Auckland areas with food and healthcare items such as tissues, hygiene and sanitary products.

The schools have a high percentage of Māori students. Among those involved and where today's presentation will take place is Papakura Intermediate, which boasts an almost 80 per cent Māori student population.

Many of those pupils come from families with ties to Waikato-Tainui and a high number live in the Waikato region.


Rukumoana Schaafhausen, chairwoman for Te Arataura - the executive body for the iwi - said the grant was a one-year partnership that was in support of the charity's great work in schools.

"Our tamariki and mokopuna are our future and as an iwi, we are committed to supporting them to be in a position to design the world they want to live in,'' she said.

"This starts with getting them into the classroom in a position to learn.''

Today's signing comes as the charity waits to hear whether or not it will still receive its $350,000 a year Government funding.

Late last year, Chapman told media she had been told that the funding would end in July.

It is expected a decision will be made in next week's Budget announcement.