Kiwi Can Stories & Research

Read here about some key insights as a result of the Kiwi Can programme.

Information was taken from the most recent Kiwi Can research we have (end of 2020). Below are infographics that cover how many leaders and decile 1-3 schools are in our Kiwi Can programme nationwide and if our student are benefiting from our programmes:

Schools were asked to rate an extent of student gains in the four areas shown in the graphs below, as of a result of their participation in Kiwi Can. The five response categories on the Likert scale were “not at all”, “very little”, “a little”, “quite a lot”, and “a lot”.


Excellence Awards:

At the end of 2020 Graeme Dingle Foundation held our annual Excellence Awards to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding students, staff, and schools we work with.  The Kiwi Can programme had a number of accolades on the day. Kaeo School in the Northland took away the Outstanding Kiwi Can School Award. This award is presented to a school that demonstrates exceptional commitment to the Kiwi Can programme supporting Kiwi Can leaders, its students and the wider community.

Kiwi Can staff from around the country were also acknowledged with the Outstanding Team Leader Award. This year the winners were Pitiera Tuhura and Renee Leabourn from Western Bay of Plenty. These staff received recognition for their exceptional programme delivery, commitment to their student’s wellbeing, and creativity with Kiwi Can online delivery during lockdown. 

(Photo is Kaeo School deputy Principle Debbie Hancock receiving her award).

NZR Charity of Choice Partnership

Graeme Dingle Foundation is in its second year as the official charity of choice for New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and its national teams, including the All Blacks, Black Ferns, Maori All Blacks, New Zealand Under 20, Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens. This partnership enables youth on our programmes to connect with their role models during school visits, fundraising events, marketing campaigns and match tickets.

Community Projects:


During term one last year, Kiwi Can students from Finlayson Park School had the opportunity to artistically portray their community and school values in a mural. This community project was supported by the local Manurewa Rugby Club and carried out by a group of Year 5 and 7 rangatahi, Kiwi Can leaders and a Finlayson Park School teacher aid. Children learnt first-hand teamwork, communication, and goal setting as they contributed to each stage of the project.

The group worked collaboratively to design the meaningful artwork. The diamond shape represents a cultural iteration of a marae concept, the layers symbolise cultural diversity within Manurewa. The logo was then surrounded by New Zealand’s unique and beautiful flora and fauna.  Primary students were also joined by seniors from nearby James Cook High who decorated a separate portion of the storage container. (photo below is Kiwi Can students from Finlayson Park School)


Community projects in the Wellington region provided an opportunity for Kiwi Can kids from three schools to learn about their natural environment, respect and kindness. Windley School and Russell School children became young gardeners while establishing vegetable planters at each classroom. The produce grown will be shared within the school, whanau or donated to WELLfed community cooking. Younger students from Windley also painted ‘happy rocks’ to place in community spaces and lift spirits of those that found them.

Tairangi School chose to celebrate Matariki, Māori New Year, by working together to build kites. Kites have traditionally been flown by Maori to signify the start of Matariki. Kiwi Can students learnt the correct way to harvest flax by removing Tupuna (grandparent stems) after saying a karakia (prayer), and the correct way to harvest Toi Toi. Back at school students collaborated in teams as they constructed traditional kites from these natural materials.  (Photo is Kiwi Can students from Tairangi School and Russell School).

Kiwi Can through COVID-19

COVID-19 provided a variety of challenges for New Zealanders nationwide, our tamariki in particular felt the affects of the pandemic as many of their families were heavily impacted by lockdowns, economic uncertainty and disruption of daily life.

From the outset of the initial nationwide lockdown Kiwi Can staff around the country were committed to helping young people feel connected and reducing any anxiety they might be experiencing. Adjusting quickly to online formats of programme delivery, Kiwi Can Leaders and Co-ordinators worked with their schools to reassure, inspire and support tamariki. Internet and TVNZ lessons included important topics such as ‘Understanding Emotions’, ‘Dealing with Challenges’, ‘Problem Solving’ and ‘Self-discipline’. Content fostered stronger social-emotional competence and engaged students at home. 

Over the course of the year, Kiwi Can delivery varied by region and school preferences, while keeping the essence of the programme. This adaptability and positive content was appreciated by many schools that recognised the importance of Kiwi Can in their school communities.

Some quotes from principles of some of our Kiwi Can Schools:

Students due to Covid have had a very disruptive year. They have been involved in number of strategies to help them cope with anxiety. Student behaviours have been up and down this year. Covid has brought out behaviours from some students we haven’t seen before and Kiwi Can have identified these and are supporting students through these”

Clendon Park, Auckland

This year with Covid we have seen our students really needing these [Kiwi Can] skill sets to navigate through their own mental wellness and the wellbeing of others

Melville Primary School, Waikato

They have learnt a lot from the last survey considering Covid Lockdown interruptions but all in all the students have learnt a lot in Kiwi Can from Term 1 till now even with small numbers of students in classes, but they have enjoyed watching Kiwi Can online with the video sessions emailed through.”  Sutton Park, Auckland

Link to Tamariki Talks online:


At the end of every year, Graeme Dingle Foundation’s research team send out surveys to all out Kiwi Can schools (that fall under the decile 1-3 demographic) and question them about the programme, delivery and how it has impacted their school.

The below data is taken from principles/ teachers that responded to the surveys – 68 schools in total were questioned. However, some of the statistics may have varying numbers – this is due schools not answering all the questions or missing a few.

  • 95% of students learnt new skills or reinforced existing ones (62/65 schools that responded).
  • 88% commented that Kiwi Can has a positive impact in their school (55/62 schools).
  • 87% said that Kiwi Can supported positive student behaviour (55/63).
  • 55% said that Kiwi Can supported student’s engagement (32/58).
  • 86% commented positively on Kiwi Can delivery & organisation (31/36).
  • 76% said that Kiwi Can was culturally responsive (28/37).

Kandoo Can: Make Friends – Research Project.

Kandoo is our programmes mascot and is very popular with our kids. In 2020, the Kandoo Can: Make Friends book was published and narrates the story of Kandoo the kiwi and his quest to find friends to play with. In the story different characters tell Kandoo one-by-one that they cannot play because there is something wrong with them. Kandoo re-assures them that they are “truly perfect” and they make a unique contribution to the team, the story ends with everyone playing together.

Children’s picture books are a source of emotional and moral development and can help children understand thoughts and feelings better. The team have surveyed two schools in the Auckland region.

Our research showed that the children liked the book, remembered it, the storyline and the characters months after the book was given to them. These responses indicated that they all understood the books message around friendship and inclusivity.

Interested to read more?

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