The Mazda Foundation has donated over $50,000 to 16 individuals and groups from around New Zealand, as part of the Foundation’s first round of funding for 2012.
Each year, the Mazda Foundation holds three funding rounds and selects deserving New Zealanders, community groups and charities that are in need of assistance.
This round, a combination of 16 individuals and groups with different causes was granted funding, including Assistance Dogs New Zealand and The Photoplayer Restoration Trust.
Assistance Dogs New Zealand provides suitably trained service dogs to assist, primarily, children disabled through autism.
The not-for-profit organisation received a $1,035 grant to purchase equipment for the training and maintenance of the dogs, including harnesses, leads, brushes and toys.
Julie Hancox, Assistance Dogs New Zealand’s trainer, says, “Assistance dogs enrich the lives of people with disabilities by helping them to live independently, enabling mobility, and providing companionship. In many cases the addition of an assistance dog to these children’s lives has encouraged benefits beyond the expected, including improved verbal skills and an increased capacity for empathy and love.”
Each assistance dog goes through a comprehensive training program, which takes approximately six months. The training includes a temperament assessment, basic obedience, social behaviour, home behaviour and specific task training. The equipment needed for the dogs during this training is essential - having adequate equipment supports the dogs in their training and helps to enable positive outcomes for the children and their families.
The Photoplayer Restoration Trust has received a $4,150 grant to begin the restoration of New Zealand’s only known photoplayer.
A photoplayer is a musical instrument built between 1913 and 1927, specifically for playing during silent movies. The instrument consists of a piano, tambourine, drums and organ pipes, and also includes sound effects needed to accompany any silent movie.
The Mazda Foundation grant will go towards the purchase and transportation, from America to New Zealand, of original Wurlitzer photoplayer plans. These plans will be used to help restore New Zealand’s only remaining photoplayer.
Don Paynter of the Photoplayer Restoration Trust, says, “We believe that the history, uniqueness, and ties to the cinema in New Zealand make this photoplayer an instrument of national importance and as such a treasure that needs to be preserved for future generations.”
When the restoration work is complete the photoplayer will be stored in the Deluxe Theatre, Opotiki, and will sing again during the Opotiki Silent Film Festival and other civic occasions.
The photoplayer has been registered with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage as an Object of Significant National Importance.
Andrew Clearwater, Chairman of the Mazda Foundation, says the Foundation is thrilled to be able to assist such a wide variety of projects throughout New Zealand.
“Every round of funding we are humbled and fascinated by the incredible tasks New Zealanders are undertaking – from Assistance Dogs New Zealand helping the lives of children with disabilities, to The Photoplayer Restoration Trust working to restore and preserve New Zealand’s history. The Foundation is so grateful to be in a position where we can help these deserving groups and individuals,” says Clearwater.
Other grants this round include funding to purchase native plants for a wetland enclosure in Ashburton, new musical instruments for the West City Junior Band Program, and an insulin pump for a seven-year-old who suffers from type 1 diabetes.
The Mazda Foundation has now distributed over $1,208,000 to more than 311 recipients since its establishment in late 2005.
The closing date for the next round of Mazda Foundation applications is 30 June 2012. For more information or to download an application form, visit www.mazdafoundation.org.nz.