Upwards is a programme for young people aged 12 - 19 to empower, uplift and equip them with the skills they’ll need to become more resilient adults and become the heroes of their own lives. It’s designed particularly for Māori and Pasifika students, yet applicable to everyone. 

Upwards is also available as a corporate programme to help organisations develop their leaders further, using the same core frameworks.

How we began

Christina started Upwards in October 2014 as one of 14 national finalist entries from ~2200 entries in the 2014 AMP Scholarships. While Upwards didn't win one of the $10k scholarships on offer that year, it was the push which took it from a vague idea about online courses to help people learn important life skills, to reality. And two years later to the day, we started the pilot programmes! 

We're incredibly grateful to and wish to acknowledge the huge number of people who have given of their time and energy (whether paid or unpaid) over the past few years, to help Upwards grow. Starting a company feels a lot like the village which raised the child: We couldn't have gotten even this far without you. Thank you. 

About our logo

The Upwards logo is based on the tui (bird) playing in the harakeke (NZ flax bush), which represents the whānau (family). 

The guiding principle in Upwards is respect for all people, which spills into our operating value of manaakitanga (taking care of people).  Another translation for this is “to care for the mana of others”. (You can read a deeper explanation here.) Upwards is about lifting the mana of young people as leaders, and in their everyday lives. It means that we have a duty of care for everyone we interact with, and they to us.  Everything else stems from this value: our health and safety policies; how we treat our employees, partners and schools.



We use a tikanga Māori framework, Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and the principles of education programme Te Kotahitanga to meet people where they are, and co-create a new future together.