How to make a complaint

If you want to make a complaint, Creative New Zealand has a standard procedure for you to use and this is described below.

Making a complaint will not affect in any way the level of service you receive from us. For example, if your complaint is about an application for funding, this will not affect your chances of getting a grant from us in the future.

What is a complaint?

You can complain if you think that:

  • you received unsatisfactory customer service
  • we did not follow correct procedures in relation to a funding process or decision.

This procedure cannot be used for:

  • appeals against funding decisions if we have followed our decision making process correctly. Creative New Zealand staff are pleased to offer information and advice to prospective applicants however funding proposals are the sole responsibility of the applicant.
  • appeals against Creative Communities Scheme funding decisions – please refer to the administrative contacts for the Creative Communities Scheme on this website.
  • complaints about funding policies – comments about our published policies can be addressed to Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright at  
  • complaints about decisions not to provide information or to charge for information, government policy grievances, or allegations of fraud. Instead please refer to the Office of the Ombudsmen website at

How do you make a complaint?

Stage One

If you are not happy with the service you have received, contact the staff member you first dealt with. They will try to resolve your complaint immediately. If this is not possible or you are still not satisfied, you will be referred to a formal complaints procedure.

Stage Two

If you were not satisfied with the response you initially received you can make a formal complaint in writing or by audio tape or CD to:

The Complaints Officer
Creative New Zealand
PO Box 3806
Wellington 6140
Ph: 04-4730193

Complaints may be made in te reo Māori to the Compliance Officer.

What do you include when making a formal complaint?

When making a formal complaint, please tell us:

  • your name and postal or email address
  • briefly what the complaint is about
  • when it happened
  • who originally dealt with the matter
  • what action is expected to put things right.

Your complaint will be acknowledged within three working days of receiving it and a full response issued within ten working days. If we cannot give a full reply in this time, we will tell you why and when you are likely to receive it.

If you are still not satisfied with the response at this stage you can refer your complaint to an independent complaints review (Stage Three, below).

Stage Three

If you are not satisfied with the response in Stage Two an Ombudsman may be able to assist. Under the Ombudsmen Act 1975, an Ombudsman can investigate complaints about the actions and decisions of central and local government agencies.

Contact details are:
Ombudsmen Complaints, Free Phone: 0800 802 602

Further information about the Ombudsman can be found at An Ombudsman may decide not to investigate your complaint until you have first tried to deal with Creative New Zealand to resolve the issue.

Monitoring Complaints and Improving our Record

Creative New Zealand will record all complaints and comments received about our services and procedures and the subsequent action taken. A record of all complaints will be kept for three years from the date on which the complaint was received. The number of complaints, their nature and the speed with which they are dealt with, will be monitored regularly.

Policy Principles

  • Commitment – Management and staff are committed to the right of clients to complain. Complaints are seen as an opportunity for improving Creative New Zealand service.
  • Visibility – How to complain and to whom will be obvious to staff and customers.
  • Simple and Assisted – The steps in the complaints procedure will be straightforward and easy for customers to follow. Support and advice will be available to help customers complain.
  • Fair and Confidential – All complaints will be dealt with equally with respect. Respect includes maintaining confidentiality and a complainant’s right to privacy.
  • Responsive – All complaints will be acknowledged promptly and an approximate time frame for action given.
  • Communication – Complainants and other affected parties will be kept informed of the progress of a complaint.