05 Apr 2023

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Creative New Zealand increases support for the arts

Creative practitioners, arts organisations and festivals are set to benefit from additional support over the next year. Today Creative New Zealand is pleased to announce more details of how the additional $22 million in funding for the arts will support the sector this year. 

In February the Government announced that it was providing Creative New Zealand with a one-off top-up of $22 million to help alleviate some of the impact COVID-19 had had on the sector. The funding covers two initiatives: Support for artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations ($12 million) and Support for festivals ($10 million). 

Today we're announcing that the Arts Council has allocated $18.7 million for arts funding across the motu says CE, Stephen Wainwright. 

“We welcome this one-off support for the arts community. This funding means we can provide critical support for creative practitioners and arts organisations during a period of ongoing uncertainty as well as increasing the opportunities for New Zealanders to engage with the arts.”

Festivals will be able to apply for dedicated funding from May onwards, with $6.7 million available. This will be allocated across three festival-related streams: a contestable fund to support delivery of festivals, a commissioning fund for larger works within festivals and additional support for local and community festivals through the Creative Communities Scheme. 

“Increased festival activity will bring joy and excitement to communities and provide employment for creative practitioners,” said Wainwright. 

Gretchen La Roche, Senior Manager Arts Development Services says it’s going to give a big boost to the arts in Aotearoa. “A combination of ongoing COVID impacts and a tough economic climate means Creative New Zealand is receiving more applications for grants than ever before.” 

During 2023, an additional $10.6 million will be invested in grants programmes, including Arts Grants and Annual Grants. A further $1.4 million will be distributed to multi-year funded organisations.

So far, $1.7 million has distributed through the February Arts Grants round – which saw the numbers of artists, organisations and projects receiving funding significantly up on previous rounds. The next Arts Grants round – opening in late April 2023 – has been allocated an additional $3 million approximately, giving a total budget of around $5 million. 

Creative New Zealand is also working to progressively remove the cap on applications for Arts Grants. Gretchen La Roche acknowledges that the caps have caused stress for applicants.

“We recognise that the caps simply don’t feel fair, and that they’re a barrier for many people – so we’re working to remove them,” said La Roche.

We expect to release further details on upcoming funding rounds, including eligibility criteria, in the coming weeks. 


Of the $6.7 million of the $10 million provided under the Support for Festivals will be split across festival funding as follows: 

  • $3.5 million to establish a new Contestable Festival Fund to be offered for the purpose of supporting the delivery of festivals
  • $2 million to establish a new Commissioning and Presentation Fund for the purpose of joint commissioning of mid- to larger scale work and presentation by festivals within New Zealand 
  • $1.2 million to support Local and Community Festivals to be delivered through the Creative Communities Scheme.

The $12 million provided under the Support for artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations has been allocated across the following programmes:

  • $4.5 million to top-up Arts Grants in 2022/23 across the February and April Rounds (across the Ngā Toi Māori, Pacific Arts and General funding pools) – of this amount, an additional $1.7 million has to date been allocated to the February Round 
  • $4.6 million to top-up Arts Grants in 2023/24 for the August and October Arts Grants Rounds (across the Ngā Toi Māori, Pacific Arts and General funding pools)
  • $1.5 million to top-up Annual Arts Grants in 2023 (across the Ngā Toi Māori, Pacific Arts and General funding pools) – Annual Arts Grants will also be aligned with the financial year; this means organisations will be able to plan from the beginning to the end of the year, simplifying financial planning
  • $1.4 million in 2022/23 to organisations funded through the Toi Tōtara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea Investment programmes.

To date, allocation decisions have been made on $18.7 million of the $22 million in re-prioritised funding covering two initiatives: Support for artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations ($12 million allocated) and Support for festivals ($6.7 million of the $10 million has been allocated).

Decisions on the final $3.3 million (under the Festivals initiative) will be made in June 2023.