The Stephenson Fund
for Covenant Enhancement

The Stephenson Fund was established in 2017 with the objective 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.

The types of projects a grant may support include pest plant control, predator control, revegetation, and track or access maintenance.

Due to the limited amount of funding available, unfortunately we may not be able to provide a grant for every project submitted. 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 regional representative on the ‘Find your rep’ page on our website.

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 application for funding, project works, 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 from the previous round of The Stephenson Fund.

Due to a limited amount of funding available annually, we will be taking the following into account:

  • If you/the covenant received a grant through the last funding round of The Stephenson Fund
  • If previous grant allocations via The Stephenson Fund have exceeded $30k over the previous three years

(N.B. Previous grants will not rule you out this funding round, but will be considered if the fund is oversubscribed)

Please discuss your project with your regional representative for site-specific advice before applying as this may increase your chances of a successful application.

For covenants in the Auckland region, projects that serve to protect, maintain, or enhance biodiversity values can apply for funding support via 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 fund to apply to. You can find your regional representative on the ‘Find your rep’ page on our website.

The 2024 funding round will open for applications on Monday 22 July and close at 5pm Sunday 25 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 project.

Multi-year grant applications will be accepted for project plans to a maximum of three years for the following project types:

  • Pest plant control
  • Predator control
  • Revegetation

If you are applying for a grant to support a multi-year 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 notified by email whether they have been successful in receiving a grant through this funding round in October.

The objectives of The Stephenson Fund are to:   

  • Enhance or sustain open space values in registered covenants 
  • Inspire stewardship by strengthening partnerships with landowners, the community, and partner organisations
  • Provide support where hardship is the result of circumstances beyond a landowner’s control

Projects will be considered that protect, restore, and manage a covenant’s open space values. Projects that have been funded in the past include:

  • Pest plant and predator 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 fund’s criteria will be assessed by 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 $1,000 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 includes funding from another source, this information must be included in your application. Once that contribution amount has been considered, your contribution need only match the QEII grant contribution (i.e., 50% of the remainder).

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

In exceptional circumstances a landowner may apply citing hardship. The hardship application option is intended to provide recovery support for covenants impacted by adverse events. The hardship categories are as follows:

  1. Natural disaster events: An event that has caused damage to the covenant. Natural disasters can include; earthquakes, landslips, floods, severe weather events (including storms, wind and rain), tsunami, cyclones, tornados, bushfires, volcanic and hydrothermal activity.
  2. Capability: Circumstances outside a landowner’s control (e.g., age, disability) affects their ability to protect or enhance the open space values of their covenant.
  3. Financial hardship: If your covenant requires attention but you are unable to meet the required 50% contribution (financial or in-kind), please discuss your submission with your regional representative. You may also be required to provide additional information/evidence to support a financial hardship application.

The required landowner contribution of 50% may be reduced or 100% of project costs may be covered by The Stephenson Fund for projects we determine meet the fund’s hardship criteria. Please state in the hardship section of the application form if and how much you can contribute to 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 assessed against the fund’s criteria at the discretion of QEII. If an application is not considered to qualify within the hardship criteria, we will progress the application on the basis of a 50% landowner contribution and communicate this to the applicant for consideration.

Your regional representative must be informed of your intention to apply for funding support based on hardship. You will find your regional representative’s contact details on the ‘Find your rep’ page on our website.

You are required to submit a budget with your application outlining project costs. You can submit your own document or use our template.

Quotes from contractors must be included with your application. For materials or equipment included in your budget, we require quotes, or an example of the order included with your application.

For revegetation projects, you will need to provide a species list in line with QEII eco-sourcing guidelines.

Remember to discuss your project with your regional representative before applying as this may increase your chances of a successful application.

The online application form will be available here from Monday 22 July 2024.

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 on the ‘Find your rep’ page 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.