The Stephenson Fund
for Covenant Enhancement

The Stephenson Fund was established in 2017 with the overarchingobjective of providing support for enhanced stewardship of covenants and to enhance our partnerships with covenantors. The fund is named after Gordon and Celia Stephenson, key founders of QEII National Trust (QEII).  

The Stephenson Fund is a contestable fund. Below you will find information to assist if you are considering applying for a grant. You will also be required to read the Terms & Conditions of the fund before completing an application form

We strongly recommend talking to your Regional Representative for site-specific advice or to discuss whether your project might be eligible for funding. You can find your local representative here 

For covenants in the Auckland region, applications that serve to protect, maintain, or enhance biodiversity values should apply to the Auckland Council Fund , whilst those with broader covenant objectives could apply to The Stephenson Fund.

Please talk to your Regional Representative who will help you choose the correct right fund to apply to.

Find your Regional Representative here.

If you are considering applying, please read the full Terms & Conditions of the fund here

If you are applying for funding on behalf of the landowner(s), an email or letter from the landowner(s) consenting to the project and any potential associated publicity must be submitted with your application.

You will not be eligible to receive a grant this funding round if you have funds still to be utilised via the previous round of The Stephenson Fund.

Please discuss your project with your Regional Representative for their advice and input before applying, as this may increase your chances of a successful application. 

Applications for the 2022 funding are open until Sunday 28 August.  Applications must be submitted before the closure date to be considered. 

Projects must be designed to be completed within 12 months of a successful grant application being confirmed, unless you are planning a multi-year pest plant control project. 

If you are applying for a grant to support a multi-year pest plant control project, your project plan can be up to three years. If you are successful in receiving a grant, your grant will be allocated across each year of the project (to a maximum of three years).  

Applicants will be informed whether they have been successful in receiving a grant through this funding round by the end of October 2022.

The objectives of The Stephenson Fund are to:   

  • Enhance or sustain open space values in registered covenants 
  • Provide support where hardship is the result of circumstances beyond a landowners control 

Projects that have been funded in the past include:  

  • Pest animal and ecological pest plant control  
  • Revegetation (all plantings must be eco-sourced)  
  • Signage or infrastructure to support recreational use (e.g. track or access maintenance)

Projects that meet the funds criteria will be evaluated and scored against the extent to which they provide for stewardship, engagement with covenants, and the ecological enhancement of covenants.  

You can apply for a minimum grant of $2,000 and a maximum grant of $15,000 (figures incl GST). Please note, there is a limited amount of funding available annually. 

Applications must include a 50% financial or in-kind contribution towards total project costs from the applicant. For example: if your project’s total value is $8,000 you can apply for a $4,000 grant and must contribute $4,000 (financially or in-kind).  

If your project budget includes funding from another source this information should be included in Section 4 of the application form: Budget Outline. If your project’s budget does include funding from another source, your contribution and the QEII contribution must be 50/50 of the remaining project costs.

Due to the limited amount of funding available, in some situations QEII may offer applicants a ‘partial funding’ grant. 

The hardship application option is intended to provide recovery support for covenants that are impacted by adverse events. By this we mean:  

  • Natural disaster events, such as: earthquake, flood, tsunami, storm, fire storm, dust storm, hurricane, tornado, volcanic eruption, and other geological processes.
  • Where capability, or another circumstance outside a covenantor’s control affects their ability to protect or enhance the open space values within a covenant.  
  • Situations where covenants require attention, but the landowner is unable to meet the required 50% contribution (financial hardship) and can provide sufficient supporting information/evidence.  


The required landowner contribution of 50% may be reduced or 100% of project costs may be covered by The Stephenson Fund for projects that we determine meet the fund’s hardship criteria. Please state in your application if and how much you can contribute to the project costs.  

All hardship applications must still meet the rest of the fund’s terms & conditions, however hardship applications may include repairs to covenant fencing. 

All hardship applications will be scored and assessed against the fund’s criteria at the discretion of QEII. If an application is not considered to qualify within the hardship criteria (above) we will progress the application on the basis of a 50% landowner contribution and will communicate this to the applicant.

We strongly recommend talking to your Regional Representative before applying on the basis of hardship.  

A budget must be included with your application. Quotes or pricing estimates would be beneficial and may significantly support your application. Some examples of when a quote should be included:   

  • A contractor is undertaking some or all of the project actions  
  • Purchasing a product direct from a supplier (e.g. traps, plants, materials) 

If you are undertaking native eco-sourced planting, you will need to provide a species list. Eco-sourcing guidelines are available here. 

Remember to discuss your project with your Regional Representative before applying as this may increase your chances of a successful application   

Please complete this online application form.

If you are unable to use the online form, you can download the form here and email your application to:  thestephensonfund@qeii.org.nz

If you are unable to use either of the options above, please print and post your completed application form to:
The Stephenson Fund Coordinator, QEII National Trust, PO Box 3341, Wellington 6140.

Please talk to your regional representative if you require support or assistance with your application.  You can find your local representative here.

The information supplied in your application will be stored securely. You can further access information on our privacy policy here on our website.

If you have any queries about the application process, please email: thestephensonfund@qeii.org.nz

If you would like any advice on your proposed project, please contact your Regional Representative