Become a social change innovator

Your knowledge as a young person is valuable. You can be part of making sure young people who’ve experienced mental distress are accepted and included.

Step forward, join us and make an impact on discrimination for young people in Aotearoa.

Read more about POD

What is POD?

POD stands for Point of Difference. Here at POD, we want to see Kiwis flourish. We want to see young people winning at life and being happy and healthy. Young people are a key part of tackling mental illness discrimination, and we want to support you to achieve this.

We are looking for young people aged 17–24 who have a creative idea or project that can help end the discrimination young people with mental health issues face. You can apply for POD as an individual, or as part of a group.

What's in it for you?

POD’s incubator programme will support you to turn ideas into actions, link you with sweet contacts, inspire you with key movers and shakers in business, social enterprise and the creative arts, and we’ll help you develop your leadership skills so you can make change happen.

Flex your creative muscles because we are keen on projects that include the arts, videos, website, apps, drama, writing or other out-of-the-box ideas. We prefer applications from people who have lived experience of distress.

He iti te mokoroa nāna te kahikatea i kakati

Even the small can make a significant impact on the big.

How it works


The incubator programme includes two specially designed workshops which are held on weekends over approximately six months.

Guest speakers will share their knowledge and expertise as well as the latest research on social inclusion and wellbeing, social change innovations, how to run a project, communications and marketing, and fundraising tips. We also have some scope to run POD sessions based on what you’d like to cover. 

Ideas Workshop
Before each POD programme there is an Ideas Workshop open for anyone to come along to meet the POD team, see what the programme is all about and talk through your project ideas so you have everything ready to apply. 

Important dates

POD One – closed

POD Two – closed

POD Three – open

Application closes Friday, 30 June, 2017
Projects announced  Monday, 10 July, 2017
Workshop 1  Friday 28 –Sunday 30 July, 2017 
Workshop 2  Friday 1 – Sunday 3 September, 2017
Graduation  Wednesday, 1 November, 2017


Between workshops, you will have monthly contact with a POD mentor who will act as a sounding board and help you stay on track, over Skype, phone, or face-to-face.

You will also meet other passionate young people like you at POD, giving you the support you need to realise your vision and make a big impact. 


A successful POD project will influence the attitudes and behaviours of people who discriminate and socially exclude young people with mental health issues. You’ll need to show us how you hope to improve specific behaviours and attitudes in your application. Innovative use of social media and technology will be an important element of your project.

Graduation & launch

At the end of the programme a final event will support the launch of your project and celebrate your graduation from POD.

As a POD graduate, you will receive a koha and a certificate to acknowledge your awesomeness!

How to apply

If you’re between 17 and 24, have experienced mental illness and are passionate about making a difference, we want to hear from you!

You'll need to fill in the application form, send us some examples of previous projects, and to get someone who knows you to send us an email telling us why they support your application. 

If you fit the eligibility, guidelines and criteria, then step forward and apply!

  1. Read the eligibility, guidelines, selection process and checklist.
  2. Fill in the application form (including your project proposal).
  3. Make sure you have included everything on the application checklist!

We look forward to seeing the creative projects you propose.

Have more questions or trouble with the application form? Feel free to contact us so we can get it sorted.

Young leaders, together with communication and creative arts experts, will consider all applications. We may contact you if we have any questions before making final decisions.

If you're interested in becoming a mentor, please fill in the application form.

POD Three applications close 30 June 2017

Successful applicants for POD Three will be announced on Monday, 10 July.

Need some inspiration?

Sam, Caitlin, Kirsten and Rachel are using their talents and personal experiences to generate social change…


Sarikha Paikea

Sarikha initially intended hosting a large youth event with poetry, painting and dance workshops focusing on mental wellbeing. "The incubator taught me that sometimes less is more, that starting out smaller can actually lead to a bigger impact," she says. So instead she started a youth club in her local Mangawhai community in Northland; a group of 100 young people aged 12–15 years. Read more

sam profile

Sam Orchard

And Sam’s advice for future PODers? “Share as much or as little of yourself as you want to share. I’ve held back on some things because I wasn’t ready to have it out in the open yet. And just always remember why you did something in the first place. Sometimes if people say something mean about my comics, I’m just like: 'well, that story wasn’t for you!'”


Caitlin Smart

Caitlin says her work through POD proves that confronting any mental health issue is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of and that you can live with a mental illness and be successful. “I think it is important that everyone can participate and I personally believe that those who are the most passionate about something were first deeply affected by it,” she says. Read more


Kirsten Wong

Now, for the first time in her life Kirsten is flexing her creative muscle and using her knowledge of Capoeira – a Brazilian martial art she practices – to address mental health discrimination and social exclusion. “Capoeira has a rich history, is of cultural significance, and is a fabulous model for holistic wellbeing and social inclusion,” Kirsten explains. “It is a non-judgemental community and I’ve found many international examples of Capoeira being used to create safe spaces for people. Read more

rachel profile

Rachel Ross

Rachel is a recipient of a 2015 Like Minds, Like Mine creative grant. Her short film is currently in production. The finished footage is being prepared for the film festival circuits and Rachel hopes it will speak to people currently experiencing anxiety, those supporting someone with anxiety, and those who have no knowledge of the topic at all. Read more 


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Contact us

For additional information please contact Margaret Lockhart:

09 623 4810