Viet Nam Veterans & Families Trust

The Trust makes grants to Viet Nam veterans and their families, to help relieve poverty or hardship. These grants are additional to any entitlements under the Veterans’ Support Act.

Purpose of the Trust

The work of the Trust is focused on making day-to-day life easier for Viet Nam veterans & families who’re struggling. The Trust’s whakatakanga (mission) is to:

  • relieve Viet Nam veterans & families from poverty or hardship; and
  • generally benefit the community of Viet Nam veterans & families.

Help from the Trust

What the Trust can help with

Costs the Trust may be able to help with include:

  • debt arising from unexpected circumstances
  • house alterations needed for medical reasons
  • house repairs such as roof, plumbing or electricity repairs, or replacing a rotten fence
  • purchase or installation of home heating
  • purchase of practical items such as a bed
  • orthodontic work or optometrist expenses
  • travel, such as to visit a sick relative or get hospital care
  • some educational expenses such as school books, or fees to attend a school that supports children with a disability. (But the Trust's unlikely to be able to help with tertiary education or apprenticeship fees).

Grants may be approved for retrospective costs.

What the Trust can’t help with

Costs the Trust doesn’t fund include:

  • medical therapies provided by the public health system, or alternative therapies
  • ongoing costs, such as rent or living expenses
  • mortgages
  • major capital items, or similar, such as purchase of a house, land or buildings
  • investment in business ventures
  • compensation for the longstanding grievances of the veteran community.

If you’re unsure whether your situation will qualify for a grant, it’s better to put in an application. If the Trust can’t help, it may be able to point you towards those who can.

How you can use a grant

If you get a grant, you must use it as set out in the letter you’ll get about it.

Applications for help

Who can apply

To apply, you must be a New Zealand Viet Nam veteran, or a family member of one. But you can apply whether or not you:

  • live in New Zealand
  • have had a previous grant, or applied before.

Priority is given to cases where there‘s an immediate or obvious need or hardship. If you know a Viet Nam veteran or family member who’s struggling and in need, please encourage them to apply.

How much you can apply for

There’s no limit to how much you can apply for. But due to pressure on funds, the Trust can rarely fund to the level sought. It’s more likely to consider only a contribution towards a project.

Grants are normally one-off payments, so you shouldn’t depend on getting continuing support.

How to apply

Application information & form (external link)  (on CommunityMatters – Department of Internal Affairs website)

Decisions on applications

Who makes the decision

Applications are considered by the trustees:

  • Philippa Smith Lambert, Chair – settlor appointee (settlor is the Ministers of Defence & Veterans’ Affairs)
  • Robert (Bukit) Hill – RSA appointee
  • Michael Dudman – RSA appointee
  • Pamela Miley-Terry – NZ Viet Nam Veterans Association appointee
  • Graham Gibson – NZ Viet Nam Veterans Association appointee.

How the decision is made

The trustees consider the poverty or hardship an applicant is experiencing, and investigate how a grant might benefit quality of life. Their decisions are independent of the government, and based on the merit of each application.

Applications are considered at the next meeting following receipt. The Trust meets 4 times a year to consider applications:

  • March
  • June
  • September
  • November.

How much can be granted

Average amount of each grant is $3,700 but larger and smaller grants are also made depending on the individual’s circumstances.

Number & amount of grants approved varies year-by-year (the Trust’s annual income is approximately $250,000).

Registration with Veterans’ Affairs

The Trust strongly encourages Viet Nam veterans & family to register with Veterans’ Affairs. As well as helping the individual veteran, this benefits the community of Viet Nam veterans.

Viet Nam registrations forms are available for the following (living or deceased):

  • veterans
  • spouses & partners
  • children & grandchildren.

Administration of the Trust

The Trust is a charitable trust incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act, and administered by the Department of Internal Affairs. This administration is separately funded by the government, at no cost to the Trust.

More information

To find out more, you can:

  • read about the Trust (external link) on CommunityMatters (Department of Internal Affairs website)
  • email trusts@dia.govt.nz
  • phone the Department of Internal Affairs on 0800 824 824
  • come to the Trust’s public meeting. All Viet Nam veterans & families are invited to attend, to learn more about the Trust and talk to the trustees. (Time & place are posted on this website each year, in advance of the meeting).