Scholarships, Grants and Awards

Several scholarships are available to assist those with MS:

Mastering Mountains Grant

Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant

Dorothy L Newman Scholarships

Esme Tombleson Awards

Outward Bound


Mastering Mountains Grant

A grant created by the Mastering Mountains Charitable Trust and MSNZ with the aim of:


‘assisting people who have been diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis, to overcome a specific obstacle so that they can achieve a specific outdoor pursuit’.


With this scholarship, we hope to help people with MS pursue adventures that encourage a healthy lifestyle and change the perceptions of MS. The Mastering Mountains Charitable Trust was established in 2015, and exists to enrich the lives of people affected by MS, by helping them get outdoors. Getting outdoors has an incredible therapeutic quality. MS can hinder people from the fullest experience of this, and the Mastering Mountains Grant hopes to overcome this obstacle.

Applicants are required to state:

  • Why did you chose your selected activity?
  • How will the experience benefit you?
  • What obstacles will you need to overcome to complete the activity?
  • What steps are you planning to take and how will you prepare for the activity?


Application Deadline:

  • 1 September – 31st October annually (Mastering Mountains Grant – NZ based challenges)

Application Form:


Application Guidelines: Mastering Mountains Grant Guidelines

Past Recipients: Mastering Mountains Past Recipients

You Can Get Outside With MS Leaflet 2018


Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant

The Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant aims to assist people who have been diagnosed as having MS to participate in an overseas outdoor expedition or adventure with World Expeditions.

World Expeditions has over 40 years of experience in providing responsible and exciting adventures for a wide range of skills and abilities. Mastering Mountains and World Expeditions are working in partnership with them to make this an amazing and unique experience.

Successful recipients will be mentored by the Mastering Mountains Trust to become community leaders that share their knowledge, help others problem solve and create dynamic community. The Grant recipient will also undertake an extended outdoor adventure that will challenge notions of possibility with MS. Together, we will work to affect change in the MS community, helping others overcome their obstacles and get outdoors.

You may already have an idea where you’ve always dreamed of going or if you are undecided check out all the adventures on offer here.

To apply for the Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant and to participate in one of World Expeditions incredible adventures, download application form below.

Application Deadline:

    • 1 April – 30 June 2019 (Mastering Mountains Expedition Grant – Overseas challenges with World Expeditions)


Application Form:


Dorothy L Newman Scholarship

The Dorothy L Newman Scholarship assists people who have been diagnosed as having MS and as a result are unable to continue in their present employment, who need to change their employment and undergo a course of retraining in order to do so.

Applications are open solely to people with MS needing to retrain for paid employment.

Applicants will be required to explain in a statement in their application the reasons why they chose their course of study, how they intend to use their qualification on successful completion of their course and the likelihood of employment following the course.

Application Deadlines: There are two funding rounds open each year

  • Round 1: 1 April – 30 June 2019
  • Round 2: 1 September – 31st October 2019

Application Form:

Application Guidelines: Dorothy Newman Scholarship Guidelines

Past Recipients: Dorothy L Newman Scholarship Recipients



Esme Tombleson Awards

Esme Tombleson was the co-founder of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand in 1961 and from 1975 was President for many years. She was also founder and president for many years of the Gisborne branch and on the International Federation of the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s executive. In 1987 she received the rarely awarded gold medal for distinguished services to Multiple Sclerosis.

In honour of her work, the MS Society of NZ offers the Esme Tombleson Award annually to people in New Zealand for the ‘Person with MS of the Year’ and ‘Caregiver of the Year’, which are announced at the MS Society AGM.  The nominations for this award are organised through the Regional Societies and co-ordinated through MSNZ every September.

Application Deadline: 30th September annually


Person with MS of the Year

Application Form:

Application Criteria: PwMS of the Year Criteria

Application Deadline: 30th September annually

Past Recipients: Esme Tombleson Person with MS Past Recipients


Carer of the Year

Application Form:

Application Criteria: Carer of the Year Criteria

Application Deadline: 30th September annually

Past Recipients: Esme Tombleson Carer of the Year Past Recipients


Outward Bound – Aspire Scholarships

9th – 16th September 2019

Aspire is a low impact discovery course which is suitable for people ages 27+ with a mild physical impairment. Participants will experience activities like sailing, rock climbing, kayaking and high ropes, but Aspire is designed to exclude high impact activities such as running or carrying a heavy tramping pack. Past participants include people with arthritis, early onset multiple sclerosis, joint replacements, back injuries and amputations.

Participants need to be able to take part in a full day of activities with rest breaks, comfortably walk a minimum of 2kms over uneven terrain and get up and down 5 flights of stairs. You will also need to be able to sit without back support, for example in a kayak, and be comfortable in and around the water.


When you have lead a very active life and suddenly lose some of your physical strength it is a great loss of confidence, but the Aspire course gives you the tools to take charge of your life again and know that anything may be possible. Annette, Aspire alumna

Successful scholarship applicants will receive 80% funding towards their Aspire course fee. That means that you only pay $500 towards this experience of a lifetime. You are encouraged to fundraise towards the remaining course cost.


  • You must be aged 27+ to apply for an Aspire scholarship
  • You must be able to participate in a full day of activities (with rest breaks). You should also be able to comfortably walk a minimum of 2km over uneven terrain and a minimum of 5 flights of stairs – it’s ok to use walking sticks if needed.
  • You must be able to sit without back support, for example in a kayak as well as be comfortable in water and getting your head under water (wearing a life jacket).
  • All applications are subject to Outward Bound’s standard terms and conditions, including payment of a $500 deposit, medical screening and fulfilling our enrolment criteria
  • Scholarship amount is $2,080
  • This offer does not cover travel to and from Picton, travel insurance, or the cost of a doctor’s medical examination.
  • This offer is available to individual New Zealand residents, and is not available to businesses or international students.

To apply visit the Outward Bound website


Outward Bound – Activate

Not currently open

Activate is an opportunity to show yourself what you are truly capable of achieving. Break your preconceptions of your physical limitations and test your boundaries.

During your 8 day course you’ll build the confidence to challenge yourself, a philosophy you can then transfer into everyday life. Return home with the courage and determination to achieve whatever goals you set for yourself.

You’ll complete the course with a group of up to 11 peers who also have physical disabilities. You’ll be accompanied by 3 support workers throughout as well as 3 Outward Bound instructors to guide your adventure.

Who takes part in Activate?

Activate is an adapted course to enable those aged 18+ with a physical disability to experience the challenge and adventure of an Outward Bound course. Past participants have included those with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, arthritis and amputees.

“I have taken away a stronger belief in my abilities and greater determination to achieve in my chosen career.” Samuel Tate


Is funding support available?

Funding is available for Work and Income clients and through other possible channels.

Contact Outward Bound Activate 0800 688 927 for further information and assistance.