Our history. Your history. Our future.

To tatou hītori, tou hītori to tatou heke mai

  • Rātā Foundation has assisted hundreds of organisations over the last three decades, through our funding.

    We are simply the guardians of your money for future generations, acting on behalf of the communities we serve. The Foundation's history is your history too...

  • Some interesting facts on our history…


    Canterbury Savings Bank established.

    1962 – 1988

    Frank Dickson, first CEO of the Canterbury Savings Bank, leader and inspirer of the team which created over $300 million of funds The Canterbury Community Trust.


    The Canterbury Community Trust was established and in 1988 it received an annual dividend from TrustBank Canterbury which it distributed to not for profit organisations throughout its four funding regions of Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough and the Chatham Islands.


    Made its first grants to the community - $0.9m.

    Christchurch Community House (CCH) established as a collaborative joint project between The Canterbury Community House and the Christchurch City Council to provide affordable office accommodation as a way of promoting a one-stop shop for social services in Christchurch.


    It received a further injection of capital in 1997 when TrustBank Canterbury was sold to Westpac and the profits of that sale were channelled to The Trust for the community.


    Purchase of former WestpacTrust Bank, Hereford Street branch building as new site of Community House


    Introduction of Trust’s Community Loan Policy. $1.3m was loaned to community organisations that year.


    The 20th anniversary of The Canterbury Community Trust. $20m was allocated to affordable/social housing projects to commemorate the date.


    2013 was a milestone year in our history. $25m Special Fund announced to deal with the aftermath of the 2010/11 earthquakes and their ongoing effects. The Trustees used funds from its capital base to assist communities in need through a variety of projects and initiatives to knit together the various threads which make our funding regions so unique.

    The vision for the Special Fund was to partner with other philanthropic organisations and government to effect sustainable change.

    It also marked the first official year of our online applications.


    The Canterbury Community Trust changed its name to Rātā Foundation in 2015.

    This was the first major update to our identity since our inception in 1988.

    Our name, Rātā Foundation, is inspired by the Southern Rātā tree.

    This ancient species is well known for its brilliant red flowers that provide one of the most colourful displays in the New Zealand forest. This name positions us as an enduring foundation, or trunk, which supports an abundance of branches, leaves and flowers – the community we serve.

    Our name is supported by a positioning line, ‘Connect, Collaborate, Transform’. This line speaks to the purpose of the organisation which is to be a catalyst for healthy, happy and prosperous communities. We always work in partnership and collaboration to ensure we are having a positive impact in the regions we serve.


    Rātā Foundation announced a $1.1 million Earthquake Recovery Fund to provide support to the Hurunui, Kaikoura and Marlborough districts following the devastating 7.8 earthquake.


    Over the past three decades Rātā Foundation has funded nearly $434 million into our four funding regions. This equates to:

    • $333 million in Canterbury
    • $66 million in Nelson
    • $34 million in Marlborough
    • $0.5 million in Chatham Islands