Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions about our initial funding opportunities, response to COVID-19 and overall investment plan for the 12 months July 2021 – June 2022 (ie our Phase 3 response to COVID-19).

More about our initial funding opportunities for July 2021 – June 2022

Last updated: 21 May 2021

How to navigate these FAQs

We add new questions and answers occasionally, as needed. You’ll find them at the end of the relevant section, dated for when they were added and not necessarily listed in order of importance.

Have a read through and if you have a question that isn’t answered here or you need more information, email us at funding@creativenz.govt.nz

After the FAQs for the 2021/22 financial year? Download the full FAQs for 12-month investment plan for 2020/21 (pdf 500KB)

To stay up-to-date about future funding opportunities and our activity, check our website for recent news itemssign-up for our epānui updates and follow us  FacebookInstagram or Twitter.


1. Initial funding opportunities: July 2021 – June 2022 

1.1 What can you tell me about your plans to support the arts sector this upcoming financial year?

We’re aiming to deliver a fit-for-purpose and affordable 12-month programme through to June 2022 to support the arts sector to continue to survive, recover and thrive in a COVID-19 world.

At this stage we can confirm some initial funding opportunities as part of that wider programme. We’re working on other initiatives and will share more as these are confirmed.

Our offerings for the 2021/22 financial year (July 2021 – June 2022) will be the third phase of our COVID-19 response and are a blend of what we offered pre-COVID and some of the important changes that we’re responding to.

In summary:

  • Drawing on what we’ve learnt this past year, for our grants funding we’re prioritising investment into a simplified programme to support artists and arts practitioners. We’re:
    • offering six Arts Grants rounds, with a five-week turnaround for decision-making
    • making Annual Arts Grants’ eligibility criteria more flexible
    • opening Arts Grants and Annual Arts Grants on 5 July.
  • We’re continuing with some special opportunities for artists, our usual awards and scholarships, but it won’t be the full suite of opportunities we offered prior to the advent of COVID-19.
  • We’ll continue support for the Creative Communities Scheme.
  • We’ll continue to deliver COVID-19-specific recovery opportunities through the Government’s arts and culture COVID recovery programme – this includes the Pasifika Festivals Initiative and the Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund.
  • We need to retain some flexibility in our budget in the event of further COVID-19 impacts, to be able to flex should a COVID-19 resurgence take place.
  • We’ll reframe our support in the international space to adjust to the changed environment.
  • Ngā Taonga Toi a Te Waka Toi, the Arts Pasifika Awards and the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement will all once again be offered, with nominations opening in May 2022.

We‘ll also:

  • continue delivering to our key kaupapa strategies, Te Hā o ngā Toi—Māori Arts Strategy 2019–2024 and the Pacific Arts Strategy 2018–2023, as well as to the Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua 2018–2023 and the Advocacy Strategy 2016–2021
  • consider how our support for the arts is inclusive of, and accessible to, New Zealand’s diverse communities
  • support the arts sector to maximise the opportunities associated with digital technologies
  • work to improve the sustainability of the arts sector
  • honour our contracted commitments to organisations in our investment programmes (Tōtara and Kahikatea) and announce a process for applications to the Kahikatea programme – more on this to come.

Our final annual investment (through to June 2022) will be confirmed by the Arts Council at the end of August as part of finalising our 2021/22 budget (this is done every year in August). After this, we’ll be in a position to share a fuller 12-month investment plan (July 2021 – June 2022), aka our Phase 3 response to COVID-19.

1.2 Can you give an overview of initial funding opportunities? (July 2021 – June 2022)

The plan includes investment in critical core infrastructure and new opportunities to support the arts sector, as it works to survive, adapt and seek new ways to engage the public in a COVID-19-impacted environment.

It’s important to note that this funding programme is part of our wider work for the next 12 months (our financial year runs from 1 July 2021 through to 30 June 2022), which includes implementing our key strategies, working with partners, and our work to advocate for the value of the arts.

The 12-month investment plan (July 2021 – June 2022) which will be announced in full post Council meeting in August 2021 is designed to deliver to our strategic outcomes (Stronger arts; Greater public engagement with the arts; and Stronger arts sector, including building resilience), and to align with the features of Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua 2018–2023, our Te Hā o ngā Toi—Māori Arts Strategy 2019–2024 and our Pacific Arts Strategy 2018–2023

The initial programme offers key opportunities that:

  • offer short-term project funding for New Zealand artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations, including groups and collectives (Arts Grants)
  • support artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations (including collectives and groups) to deliver a regular or continuous programme of activity over a 12-month period and/or produce or present a significant event or project (Annual Arts Grants)
  • offer selected special opportunities for artists, awards and scholarships
  • deliver COVID-19-specific recovery opportunities – this includes the Pasifika Festivals Initiative and the Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund
  • reframes our support in the international space to adjust to the changed environment
  • honours our contracted commitments to organisations in its investment programmes (Tōtara and Kahikatea) and announce a process for applications to the Kahikatea programme – more on this to come.

If you haven’t already, sign-up to receive email updates

1.3 Is there anything you’re not offering this year that has been offered in the past?

In order to invest as much as we can into grants funding and to ensure we can be highly responsive to the sector, we won’t be offering some special opportunities, initiatives and pilots for the 2021/22 year – a tough decision which was not taken lightly. These are:

  • Overseas residencies (remain on hold)
  • Ngā Toi ā Rohe – Arts in the Regions Fund (on hold)
  • Toi Rangatahi Fund (remains on hold)
  • Some fellowships (remain on hold)
  • Wild Creations (remains on hold)

The details of available programmes can be found in the funding calendar.

The funding calendar currently outlines the initial funding opportunities we can confirm for 2021/22, and more will be added as our complete 12-month investment plan is finalised (later in 2021).

2. General funding questions about the initial opportunities: July 2021 – June 2022 

2.1 Who’s eligible for the different opportunities? How much can I apply for?

Full details, including eligibility criteria, will be available under our website’s Funding section when each opportunity opens.

We’ve developed a 12-month funding calendar to help you plan – the calendar currently outlines the initial funding opportunities we can confirm for 2021/22, and more will be added as our complete 12-month investment plan is finalised (later in 2021).

In the meantime, you might want to look at web story that provides a snapshot of some of key funding opportunities.

You can read more about eligibility in our funding guidelines

2.2 Can I (an individual) apply if I’ve never received Creative New Zealand funding before?

Yes. You can apply for funding if you've never received Creative New Zealand funding before. You will need to look at each opportunity as it opens to check the specific eligibility criteria. You’ll find opening dates in our 12-month funding calendar

Note that our funding is focused on specific artforms, listed in our funding guidelines, with further definitions in our glossary. You will need to meet the eligibility criteria detailed under each grant opportunity, and include a track record in the arts (you’ll also find guidance on track record requirements under each artform in the funding guidelines).

Track record: To be eligible for funding, an individual or arts organisation must have some experience and must have achieved recognition and success in the area of arts practice for which they’re applying for support. The level of experience, recognition and success vary according to the type of grant or investment you’re applying for.

One way to increase your experience, and give you the sort of recognition we’re looking for, can be to collaborate with more experienced practitioners or collectives on a project that supports your arts practice and will be a useful example of something you've done.

If you're unsure whether you have enough experience, contact us to speak to one of our funding advisers for guidance.

You might also find our other sources of funding information useful.

2.3 Will you have dedicated ngā toi Māori and Pacific arts funding?

Yes. There will be funding available for Māori and Pacific arts to ensure we deliver to our commitment to Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi, and the impact and relevance of a bi-cultural environment, as well as recognise the role of Pasifika people and the cultural diversity of the people of New Zealand.

As well as applying under ngā toi Māori or Pacific arts categories in Arts Grants, other opportunities include:

You’ll find more about these opportunities in the 12-month funding calendar.

The guiding principles that direct all of our investments (mandated in legislation, in the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Act 2014) are to recognise and uphold:

  • the role in the arts of Māori as tangata whenua*
  • the arts of the Pacific Island peoples of New Zealand
  • the cultural diversity of the people of New Zealand
  • participation, access, excellence, innovation, professionalism and advocacy.

*tangata whenua – “people of the land … those who have authority in a particular place”, quoting Te Ara–The Encyclopedia of New Zealand (a great source of Aotearoa New Zealand history).

Our funding decisions are guided by our Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua 2018–2023, which recognises and responds to the ways in which Aotearoa New Zealand is changing – such as demographic changes, including increasing diversity, recognising the role of iwi and Māori, and the imperative to deliver to under-served communities.

Aligned with this, our work is guided by our Te Hā o ngā Toi - Māori Arts Strategy 2019-2024 and our Pacific Arts Strategy 2018-2023.

2.4 Is there a different process if I’m a Māori or Pasifika artist, arts practitioner, arts group or arts organisation, or my work is for a Māori or Pasifika audience?

Yes, if you apply under ngā toi Māori or Pacific arts categories in Arts Grants. We’re very focused on how we support our Māori and Pacific arts communities. Your application will be assessed by Māori and/or Pacific peer assessors.

To apply to Māori arts:

  • individuals must be Tangata Whenua Māori or your proposed project must be managed or directed by Māori
  • organisations must be Māori-led. If an organisation is applying for funding on behalf of an individual, that person must also be Māori.

To apply to Pacific arts – whether you’re an individual or organisation:

  • you must be a New Zealand citizen or New Zealand permanent resident
  • your project must align to our Pacific Arts Strategy, and Kaupapa Pasifika must be evident in the practice of the project
  • non-Pacific individuals or organisations are eligible, but the project must deliver outcomes to Pacific art and artists.

Māori and Pacific artists can also choose to apply under our general funding category.

We also offer ‘special opportunities’ with a focus on supporting projects that align with the Māori and Pacific arts strategies. For example, the Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund, Toi Tipu Toi Rea – Emerging Māori Artist Fund, Arts Pasifika Awards and Te Waka Toi Awards.

We’re committed to supporting the Māori and Pacific arts organisations that submitted an Expression of Interest in March 2020 to our developmental programme, Te Puāwaitanga. As we did last year, we’re offering these organisations the opportunity to apply for the Annual Arts Grants programme.

2.5 What consideration is there for supporting artists and arts practitioners from under-represented or at-risk groups, or the artists, arts practitioners, arts groups and arts organisations supporting people in those groups?

We’re committed to accessibility and diversity, both elements of the strategic outcomes that direct our work and reflected in the purposes of our 12-month programmes. We’re actively seeking proposals that deliver to the broadest possible range of culture, artform, genre, artist and audience.

Our overall programme is aligned with our Diversity in the Arts policy, with funding available for work that is by, with and/or for under-represented groups.

One of the Arts Grants programme purposes is: “Opportunities for diverse communities to access and participate in high-quality arts experiences.” That purpose is aligned with our over-riding Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua 2018–2023, which reflects our commitment to diversity and reach as a key feature.

We work to maintain and develop:

  • Investment in a range of arts practices reflecting New Zealand’s growing diversity.
  • Investment that ensures communities across New Zealand can participate in and experience the arts, and investment that engages with under-represented communities.
  • Investment that engages with new audiences, in New Zealand and internationally.
  • Investment in the delivery of art through digital channels in order to increase digital content, arts participation and audience size.
  • Investment aligned with international opportunities that expand arts practices and demand for New Zealand arts.

More broadly, we’ll be considering how our support for the arts is inclusive of, and accessible to, New Zealand’s diverse communities.

2.6 Do I need to pay tax on Creative New Zealand funding?

You’ll find information about tax on grants and subsidies on the IRD website - you could check with the IRD or a professional adviser about your specific situation.

If you’re registered for GST, we will pay GST on top of the grant amount.

You’ll also find information about how to make tax time easier on the government’s website for small businesses.

If you have a further question, email us at funding@creativenz.govt.nz

2.7 Why are some opportunities that were offered before COVID-19 not being offered now?

There’s less money to invest in the upcoming financial year because in 2020/21 we had received the additional one-off $25 million in core funding from the Government through the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme, but we’ll still be investing significantly more than we did in 2018/19 – prior to COVID-19.

We’re offering some special opportunities for artists, our usual awards and scholarships, however, it won’t be the full suite of opportunities we’ve traditionally offered.

In order to invest as much as we can into grants funding and to ensure we can be highly responsive to the sector, we won’t be offering some special opportunities, initiatives and pilots in the 2021/22 year – a tough decision which was not taken lightly. These are:

  • Overseas residencies (remain on hold)
  • Ngā Toi ā Rohe (on hold)
  • Toi Rangatahi (remains on hold)
  • Some fellowships (remain on hold)
  • Wild Creations (remains on hold)

2.8 Where is the funding coming from? 

Our main source of revenue continues to come from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, which distributes the profits of Lotto NZ. In a normal year, around two-thirds of our revenue comes from the Lottery Grants Board, with one-third coming from the Government.

Overall, Creative New Zealand’s revenue for the 2021/22 financial year is forecast to be $71.2 million at this time. The actual revenue we work with fluctuates quite a lot depending on the available contribution from lotteries.

This overall revenue still includes a sizeable $7.75 million investment through the Government’s arts and culture COVID recovery programme, including the Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kotuku Initiative, Culture Sector Capability Funding, and the Pasifika Festivals Initiative.

2.9 What’s the difference between this, the COVID-19 Phase 1 Emergency Response Package, Phase 2 (12-month investment plan for 2020/21) and these 'initial funding opportunities'?

Phase 1 was an emergency response to COVID-19, to support the arts sector when it was suddenly unable to work (for example, due to limits on mass gatherings and then lockdown). It covered the 2019/20 financial year (up until 30 June 2020). The focus of the first phase of our COVID-19 response (ie our Emergency Response Package) was about getting support to as many eligible people and projects as possible through focusing on fewer opportunities.

Our second phase (our 12-month investment programme 2021/22) introduced more variety in offerings across the 2020/21 financial year. This was about supporting the sector to survive and adapt to a ‘new normal’, in an environment that still has challenges and uncertainties due to COVID-19.

We’re now heading into our Phase 3 response to COVID-19 – ie, our plan to support the sector from July 2021 through to June 2022. We’ve started by confirming some initial funding opportunities (21 May) and we’ll share details about further offerings once confirmed.

We’re incorporating learnings and feedback from our first two phases of our COVID-19 response, by providing opportunities for support that remain efficient, effective and flexible, as well as sustainable for our organisation.

Our offerings for the 2021/22 financial year are a blend of what we offered pre-COVID and some of the important changes that we’re responding to. As in recent times, we’re aiming to deliver a fit-for-purpose and affordable 12-month programme to support the arts sector to continue to survive, recover and thrive in a COVID-19 world.

In delivering these initial funding opportunities (2021/22), we’re:

  • incorporating learnings and feedback from our Phase 1 and Phase 2 response, by providing opportunities for support that remain efficient, effective and flexible, as well as sustainable for our organisation
  • we’re prioritising, for our grants funding, investment into a simplified programme to support artists and arts practitioners
  • continuing with some special opportunities for artists, our usual awards and scholarships
  • continuing to deliver COVID-19-specific recovery opportunities – this includes the Pasifika Festivals Initiative and Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund
  • reframing our support in the international space to adjust to the changed environment
  • developing the offerings in capability and investment programmes – more on this to come
  • continuing our support of the Creative Communities Scheme (administered by local councils).

2.10 What’s happening with the international programme?

We’re reframing our support in the international space to adjust to the changed environment, and like 2020/2021, we’ll roll out new offerings at different intervals.

We’ll be offering a number of funding programmes through Karangarua – Two Voices, the International programme:

  • These funds have been redesigned to respond to a dynamic international arts environment.
  • With our partners here and abroad, we’ll continue to offer a suite of opportunities and funding that provide New Zealand artists and practitioners with the knowledge and networks to support their practice, adapt to the evolving arts landscape, promote their work to international markets and audiences, and collaborate in innovative ways with international peers
  • We’ll share more details in June 2021.

Funding is still available through our Arts Grants, to support New Zealand artists, arts practitioners arts groups and arts organisations to engage in a variety of international activity, including the presentation of art works – please refer to our guidelines.

The second phase of consultation of the International Programme Review (started in August 2019) is currently underway and is due to be completed in the next few months. 

Read more about the International programme and sign-up to receive our bi-monthly e-newsletter

2.11 What support will there be for organisations in your investment programmes (Tōtara and Kahikatea)?

We’ll honour our contracted commitments to organisations in our investment programmes (Tōtara and Kahikatea) and announce a process for applications to the Kahikatea programme – more on this to come.

2.12 What happens if there is a return to a higher COVID-19 alert level?

Our first priority will be to monitor any situation and position ourselves to respond quickly, with flexibility, so that we are able to further support the sector as required.

When applying for funding, you will need to ensure your project will be possible within the government alert level current at the time of notification. We suggest you also describe any potential changes you might make if the alert level is lower or higher when we are making our decision (just prior to the round notification date published in the funding calendar).

While we hope any increased alert level will be temporary, we can’t rule out changing the 2021/2022 programme, including funding opportunities, to enable us to respond where the need is greatest.

We’ll also continue to comply with government advisories (including alert levels) and/or border controls and exercise our judgement regarding our programmes and funding opportunities. For this reason, when making funding decisions, we may decline a programme or project if it is not viable at the time of notification, regardless of when the project is planned to take place.

We’ll continue to provide regular information on our website and in social media so you can easily keep up to date with any changes.

3. Results of funding from the 2021/21 financial year

3.1 Where can I find full results of 2020/2021 funding?

Full results and more details:

4. Wider Government investment in the arts

3.1 How does this all fit with the Government’s $175m arts and music recovery package announced in 2020? Is it part of that?

In the financial year 1 July 2020 – 30 June 2021, we received a one-off additional $25 million in core funding from the Government to support artists, creative practitioners and arts organisations through COVID-19. This was on top of the $16.7 million we receive annually as our core funding. We also received a further $5 million tagged to specific initiatives under the Government’s Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme. We were delighted to use this extra investment to further support the arts community.

Going into the 2021/22 financial year, our overall revenue still includes $7.75 million investment through the Government’s arts and culture COVID recovery programme, including the Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kotuku Initiative, Culture Sector Capability Funding, and the Pasifika Festivals Initiative. We’ll continue to deliver COVID-19-specific recovery opportunities through the Government’s arts and culture COVID recovery programme – this includes the Pasifika Festivals Initiative and the Toi Ake – Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Fund.

We’ll also continue to share our sector knowledge and connections with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture & Heritage, as they work to deliver their Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme.

Te Manatū Taonga – the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s website has a range of information about its Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme

Keep up-to-date with the latest developments in this space by subscribing to email updates from Mānatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage (who is leading this mahi).