08 Jul 2020

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Update on Creative New Zealands strategy for investment and funding programmes in 2020

Over the last 18 months, we have set out our strategy and objectives for the arts sector via our Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua 2018–23, Te Hā o ngā Toi – Māori Arts Strategy 2019–2024, and the Pacific Arts Strategy 2018–2023. We have made some further changes to make these strategies a reality.

Below, we outline the changes we have made, following decisions about our Toi Tōtara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea programmes, other funding programmes and initiatives.

Tōtara and Kahikatea investment programme

In August we confirmed the arts organisations in our Investment programmes over the next two to six years; with a $27 million increase in investment. While our funding decisions ‘shift the dial’ significantly towards the principles of the Investment Strategy, the Arts Council has identified some significant strategic gaps within the portfolio.

After careful analysis, the Council has agreed:

  • its current priority for the Toi Tōtara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea programmes is to increase the number of arts organisations within them that are Māori-led and Pasifika-led
  • Te Puāwaitanga – the pre-application process for the Tōtara and Kahikatea programmes with a development focus – will open in 2020, seeking expressions of interest from eligible Māori-led and Pasifika-led arts organisations that align with Te Hā o Ngā Toi and the Pacific Arts Strategy and have an emphasis on access and distribution of the arts
  • Tōtara and Kahikatea programmes will not be open in 2020 for new proposals, but may be reopened for specific purposes in 2021.

Creative New Zealand will call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) in February 2020 for Te Puāwaitanga from Māori-led and Pasifika-led arts organisations that meet specific strategic and organisational criteria.

If you have any questions about our investment programmes, including Te Puāwaitanga, please email us: investments@creativenz.govt.nz.

Revised Arts Grants programme

We now have a single Arts Grants programme (introduced in July 2019) that merges our former Arts Grants and Quick Response funding programmes and aligns with the features of our Investment Strategy.

A reminder, that from 2020:

  • we have two funding rounds annually for Arts Grants, each with two streams: 1) up to $10,000 and 2) $10,000 to $75,000
  • for applications up to $10,000, there is a quicker decision-making timeframe, now 7 weeks
  • you’ll be able to apply for up to three Arts Grants in one calendar year
  • we’re offering a new Annual Arts Grants round enabling applicants to submit proposals for up to $150,000 for activity over a 12-month period.

If you have any questions about the Arts Grants programme email us at funding@creativenz.govt.nz.

NEW: Annual Arts Grants

Our revised grants funding programme provides flexible options for arts organisations and individual artists seeking support for their projects.

With this in mind, we have introduced an Annual Arts Grants round to enable eligible individuals, groups and organisations to plan their activity and have longer-term security, as well as reduce the number of applications they must prepare and submit.

Annual Arts Grants funding enables artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations to:

  • present a regular or continuous programme of activity over a 12-month period, AND / OR
  • produce or present a significant event or project.

To be eligible to apply for an Annual Arts Grant you must be an artist, arts practitioner or arts organisation that meets the general Arts Grants eligibility criteria, as well as:

  • in the three calendar years 2017-2019 you must have:
    • received at least four Quick Response or Arts Grants, which have been evaluated as Met Expectations or Exceeded Expectations; OR
    • received funding through the Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea Investment programmes but are no longer receiving this funding.

The inaugural Annual Arts Grants round opens on 14 April 2020 but we’re letting you know about this early so you can better plan your applications for 2020. Further details, including assessment criteria, will be confirmed when the fund opens in April.

Planning your applications for 2020 is important because if your application for an Annual Arts Grants round is successful you will not be eligible for other Arts Grants during the 12-month period of your regular or continuous programme of activity. You may still be eligible for other Creative New Zealand funding opportunities.

If you have any questions about the Arts Grants programme email us at funding@creativenz.govt.nz.

Arts Grants dates for 2020

In addition to the new Annual Arts Grants round we can confirm all the opening and closing dates for Arts Grants in 2020.

Arts Grants applications requesting amounts up to $10,000:


  • Applications open: Monday 16 December 2019
  • Applications close: Friday 3 April 2020 
  • Notify results: Friday 22 May 2020


  • Applications open: Monday 6 July 2020
  • Applications close: Friday 16 October 2020 
  • Notify results: Friday 4 December 2020

Arts Grants applications requesting amounts between $10,000 and $75,000:


  • Applications open: Monday 16 December 2019
  • Applications close: Friday 28 February 2020 
  • Notify results: Friday 8 May 2020


  • Applications open: Monday 6 July 2020
  • Applications close: Friday 11 September 2020 
  • Notify results: Friday 20 November 2020

NEW - Annual Arts Grants for proposals outlining a 12-month period of activity for up to $150,000:


  • Applications open: Tuesday 14 April 2020
  • Applications close: Friday 19 June 2020 
  • Notify results: Friday 21 August 2020

We’ve revised some of the application guidelines for our Arts Grants programme and these will be available when the Arts Grants rounds for up to $10,000 and $10,000 to $75,000 open on 16 December.

If you have any questions about the Arts Grants programme email us at funding@creativenz.govt.nz.

Funding calendar 2020

We’ve created a funding calendar to signal upcoming funding opportunities in 2020 and provide an overview of these across the financial year. This doesn’t include everything Creative New Zealand offers and will continue to be updated as we confirm more opportunities. Sign up to the Creative New Zealand newsletter to know when funding rounds open – full details of any opportunity will be published when it opens.

Access the funding calendar for 2020 (pdf 115KB)

Closing times changing in 2020 – now 1pm on a Friday

Heads-up: closing times for all funding opportunities in 2020 will be changing from 5pm on a Friday to 1pm on a Friday. We’ll provide more information when the next funding rounds open on 16 December 2019.

Key reasons behind this change of time:

  • If you’re still working on your application on the closing date, we’ll have more staff available to help you if you need assistance before the closing time.
  • We’ll be able to respond in a timely manner to issues or questions that arise when the funding round closes instead of waiting until after the weekend.

New Fund: Ngā Toi ā Rohe (Arts in the Regions)

We’re also delivering to our outcomes and providing opportunities to complement the Tōtara and Kahikatea investment programmes via our strategic initiatives.

There are a range of funds that support our investment strategy features of ‘diversity and reach’ and ‘resilience’. These include increasing engagement by, with and for rangatahi (young people) (Toi Rangatahi funds); increasing the arts sector’s resilience through the Innovation Fund (available for Tōtara and Kahikatea clients only); and the NEW Arts in the Regions Fund – Ngā Toi ā Rohe.

The purpose of Ngā Toi ā Rohe is to incentivise investment by local and regional stakeholders in the development and presentation of local arts activity outside the main centres (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch).

The fund aims to:

  • increase investment in the arts by local and regional partners
  • develop high-quality arts by and within local and regional communities
  • increase engagement (attendance and/or participation) in high-quality arts experiences by local and regional communities outside the main centres.

Organisations can apply for up to $150,000 per application. This can include arts organisations, iwi, hapū, local or regional authorities, other presenters (eg marae, local venues, galleries, libraries), community and private trusts, or regional arts development agencies.

  • Applications open: 9 March 2020
  • Applications close: 1 May 2020
  • Notify results: 19 June 2020

More information about this fund will be available on our website by the end of November.

Any pātai (questions)?

Arts Grants and general funding queries

If you have any funding enquiries email us at funding@creativenz.govt.nz 

Annual Arts Grants

Opening April 2020.

Read the FAQs about our new Annual Arts Grants fund (pdf 200KB)

Investment programmes

For questions about our investment programmes (Tōtara and Kahikatea), including Te Puawaitanga, please email us: investments@creativenz.govt.nz.

Ngā Toi ā Rohe (Arts in the Regions)

More information on Ngā Toi ā Rohe will be available on our website by the end of November 2019.

Handy links

Funding opportunities for 2020

Arts Grants

Investment programmes:

Key Creative New Zealand strategies: