Adaptation Fund: FAQs

Here are answers to some questions about the Adaptation Fund. This new fund supports transformation or significant development of the business model and/or artistic practice of organisations in the Kahikatea or Tōtara investment programmes.

Have a read through these FAQs, which are additional to the full details about the Adaptation Fund in the 'find funding' section of our website.

Last updated: 5 October 2020

Download the Adaptation Fund FAQs (pdf 500KB)

1. Why is no amount specified for the Adaptation Fund and how much can we apply for? 

The Adaptation Fund is an opportunity to apply for support towards making significant developments to your organisation’s business model and/or arts practice and therefore can be a project of scale, or involve substantial costs.

Your budget will be assessed as part of our assessment of the viability of the project. The assessment indicators are as follows:

  • Is it realistic and well planned?
  • Is the budget thorough and accurate?
  • Is the proposed activity suited to the capacity of the organisation?

If your project will incur costs beyond 31 December 2021, you need to explain in your application how any additional costs will be resourced.


2. Is it mandatory to apply for a project that focuses on digitalisation/digitisation?

No, it’s not mandatory to focus on digitalisation/digitisation. We’re interested in receiving proposals that focus on a re-thinking of organisational systems and processes as well as the adoption and deployment of digital technologies and solutions.

Digitalisation is the process of using digital methods to improve or transform an organisation’s business, including the content they generate.

Digitisation is the process of converting information from a physical format into a digital one.

The Adaptation Fund provides an opportunity for organisations to explore and leverage the transformative and future-proofing potential of digitalisation and digitisation.


3. Can you give us advice about specialists or experts who could help us deliver our project?

Yes. We can suggest consultants who have experience and expertise in specific areas. Once we know what you need, we’ll consult with our colleagues to try to identify the best options to suit your organisation and project. We also encourage you to do your own research and note that the final decision regarding the selection of providers is your responsibility. Email us at for advice and more information.

You’ll also find a general list of Government-approved consultancy service providers on the Government’s Procurement website, which might be useful.

You can nominate any provider, but your application must include proposals or quotes if you’re using external consultants or specialists in your project (refer to the ‘Support Material for People’ section of your application).

4. Can we undertake aspects of the project internally (for example, re-deploy staff or extend an existing contract)?

Staff re-deployment or extensions to existing contracts are acceptable costs if the employee has the necessary skills and the hours of work included in the application are focused solely on the activity being applied for.

Please note that business as usual activities, an extension of activities already being delivered by your organisation or the hiring of new permanent staff are not eligible costs.

You must also provide information about the key people involved in your project under the ‘Who: the people’ section of your application.

5. Do we need our governing Board’s support for our application?

Yes. You must provide written endorsement of the project from your organisation’s Board or governing body (refer to the ‘Support Material for People’ section of your application).

6. Can we collaborate on a project with other organisations? (updated 21 September)

Yes. Under the ‘Idea’ section of your application, you need to outline the impact of COVID-19 on each organisation, as well as the relevance and benefit of the partnership approach to both or all parties.

Only organisations in the Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea programmes, and organisations who submitted an ‘Expression of Interest’ to the suspended Te Puāwaitanga programme, are eligible to apply (but your application might include an organisation that is not eligible to apply).

Only one application can be submitted by an eligible organisation. If you are partnering with another eligible organisation, the application will qualify as the only application either of you can make. 

7. What do you mean by a ‘significant development to an organisation’s artistic practice’?

An organisation seeking to develop artistic practice in the COVID-19 context could apply for a project that includes one or more of the following:

  • experimenting with form and content
  • the process for creating the work
  • the way the work is presented
  • the ways the work engages with its audience
  • the way skills and techniques are passed on.

8. What do you mean by ‘transformation or significant development of an organisation’s business model’?

A business model describes the rationale and defines the manner by which any organisation creates, delivers and captures value (economic, social, cultural, or other forms of value).

Transforming or significantly developing your business model might involve:

  • reconsidering your revenue mix (for example, rebalancing international and domestic revenue or developing new revenue streams)
  • exploring new audience segments or markets
  • leveraging existing resources differently
  • collaborating to work smarter in the areas of development or presentation.

9. Can I apply to adapt my organisation’s structure or systems?

Yes, but you need to explain the transformation or significant development that will occur as a result. Examples of transformation or significant development might include the digitisation of analogue content, CRM development, or shared services.

10. What’s the difference between the Adaptation and Capability funds? How do I know which fund I should apply for?

The Adaptation Fund is designed to support transformation or significant development to an organisation’s business model and/or artistic practice.

The Capability Fund supports organisations to address immediate organisational needs and to help stabilise and increase the sustainability of their businesses in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 environment.

Your application to the Adaptation Fund will be assessed against the following indicators under the Idea section:

  • Transformation: The idea supports transformation or significant developments to the organisation’s business model and/or arts practice.
  • COVID-19: The idea responds to the opportunities presented by a changed environment as a result of COVID-19.
  • Future-focussed: The idea is future-focused and includes new ways of working to support the sustainability of the organisation.

We encourage you to discuss your proposal with the Capability team before submitting your application. Please email

11. Can I apply to both the Adaptation and Capability Funds?

Yes, eligible organisations can apply to both the Adaptation and the Capability Funds providing it is not for the same project or part of the project. If you apply to both funds for different projects we will consider whether your organisation has the capacity to successfully deliver both as part of the decision-making process.

12. How do I report on my grant for the Adaptation Fund?

Organisations receiving funding will need to submit a project completion report 12 weeks after the completion of their project. You will need to provide at least one interim report, depending on the grant amount.

13. How will our application be assessed?

Two external peer assessors will assess your application, using the assessment criteria and assessment scale listed in the ‘Assessing applications’ section of the fund details our website.

We have a large number of external peer assessors, assessing a range of applications to our funding programmes and initiatives. They are selected based on their knowledge and experience in an artform and represent the diversity of the artists and arts organisations who apply for funding. We have a number of Māori and Pasifika assessors who assess applications to our Ngā toi Māori and Pacific arts funding pools or artforms.

14. Where is the funding from the Adaptation Fund coming from?

Funding for the Adaptation Fund is part of the $25 million in new money announced for Creative New Zealand by the Government in May to support a 12-month programme of investment through to June 2021.

The Adaptation Fund is a one-off fund for a project in 2021 to encourage new ways of working within changed environments and to support new and adapted organisational models in response to the opportunities presented by COVID-19.

15. How does my application need to align to Creative New Zealand’s strategies?

This question refers to eligibility.

The proposed activity must:

  • extend beyond what Creative New Zealand currently funds your organisation to deliver
  • align with the features in Creative New Zealand’s three strategies (Te Hā o Ngā Toi Māori, Pacific Arts Strategy, Investment Strategy). Kahikatea organisations must still align with at least one feature of the Investment Strategy, and Tōtara organisations must align with all three features.

The proposed activity must not have received funding from any of our funding programmes or initiatives, including the Creative Communities Scheme.  

If your organisation is changing delivery so much that your contracted Investment Feature Outcomes need to change, you will need to re-negotiate this with your Investment Services Adviser upon receipt of the successful grant. The Investment Feature Outcomes your organisation is funded to deliver are outlined in Section 6, Schedule 1 of your Funding Agreement.

16. Can I apply for a project if it won’t be entirely finished by 31 December 2021?

The project, or component of the project, you apply for must be completed by 31 December 2021. We understand that a change process may be a significant piece of work over a longer period of time. You should outline the whole concept and plan under the ‘Idea’ section of your application, but provide more details about the component of the project you are applying for funding for, to undertake during 2021.

17. Will my lead adviser provide advice on my application?

The Capability Services and Initiatives team will be your first point of contact. They will update your lead adviser and include them in any meetings to discuss potential projects to ensure our advice is consistent.

18. What do you mean by 'business as usual' activities (added 7 September)

We define ‘business as usual’ as the core programme of activity the organisation delivered pre-COVID-19, and the business model you had in place to deliver it.

19. What do you mean by extension of activities already being delivered by your organisation’? (added 7 September)

Please see the answer above regarding ‘business as usual activities’. This fund is not designed to extend your business as usual activities or offer extra capacity to deliver these extensions. (added 7 September)

20. What if we’re already delivering activities that are not business as usual, in response to COVID-19, and we want to invest in additional resource or consultancy in order to test the sustainability of integrating these new activities into our post-pandemic delivery? (added 7 September)

  • We understand that organisations will have varying levels of success in delivering new activities in response to COVID-19. We encourage you to discuss your ideas with the Capability team, as activities of this nature may be eligible to the Adaptation or Capability Funds.
  • If your project is to develop these activities, we recommend you measure the success of your delivery up to this point (including any human and infrastructure resource gaps). Please also consider your activity’s alignment with your wider strategy and the Creative New Zealand Investment programme features you are funded to deliver.

21. What if the activity or transformational idea we are seeking funding for is something we have not tried yet? (added 7 September)

Your application may be for a new idea or new way of working that you’ve developed in order to address some of the challenges and opportunities the changed environment presents for your organisation. This might include your delivery and/or the business model you have in place to deliver it.

22. Is the Adaptation Fund a one-off, or is it going to be offered again next year? (added 7 September)

We don’t have any current plans for further rounds, but we’ll let you know if that changes.

23.  To apply for the Adaptation Fund we need to submit our 2021 Programme & Budget by 16 October 2020. What if we don’t yet know our exact 2021 programme? (added 7 September)

You’ll have to submit what you know by the 16 October deadline, even if you haven’t yet confirmed your full 2021 Programme & Budget. You should also let us know your process for confirming your programme, and how and when you’ll be able to confirm it.

24. If our application to the Adaptation Fund is about digital transformation, but includes separate digital projects, can we apply for all of those in one application? (added 7 September)

You can apply for multiple projects within one application if they all have a digital focus, and they’re all linked with your business model. Your application should include an explanation of how these various streams support each other and how they support you to deliver against your strategic plan.

25. How is the Adaptation Fund different to the Innovation Fund you’ve previously offered? Will the Innovation Fund be offered again? (added 7 September)

We deliberately refer to adaptation instead of innovation, recognising that most organisations have had to pivot quite significantly, and transformation is critical right now. We have no current plans to offer the Innovation Fund.

26. Is there a way we can share information across the sector, especially about working in the digital space? (added 7 September)

We’re looking at how we might be able support the sector to share information and will let you know where we get to on that.

27. How do I view/edit my 2021 Programme and Budget so I can submit it with my Adaptation Fund application? (added 21 September)

If you are an organisation in the Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea programmes and applying to the Adaptation Fund, you need to submit your 2021 Programme and Budget in the Portal by 16 October 2020 (all other Investment clients need to submit by 20 November 2020).

Use the Creative New Zealand Portal to view, update and submit your programme and budget.

You’ll find guidance in the Portal User Guide

If you have questions or need help to access your programme and budget please contact

28. Do I need to include the budget for my Adaptation Fund project in my 2021 programme and budget? (added 21 September)

No, please do not include the budget for your Adaptation Fund project in your 2021 programme and budget.

29. What level of detail is required in the Adaptation Fund project budget? Do we need to include capital expenditure costs and proposed contracts (for contractors)? (added 21 September)

If you’re requesting funding to support capital expenditure, you should supply quotes with your budget.

We do not require a finalised contract for fixed-term contractors, however you must provide the amount of their fee, and a rationale for how the fee has been determined if you are responsible for it, as well as their proposal or job description.

If you do not have confirmed contractors in place then you should include an outline of the roles or expertise you wish to contract as support material. A full job description is not necessary. (In the ‘Who: the people’ section of your application, you should identify the people internally who will be leading this project.)

30. Can the Adaptation Fund application support my organisation’s capability needs? (added 21 September).

An application to the Adaptation Fund can include capability building costs, such as training or skill building, providing these costs are directly associated with the Adaptation Fund project. If, however, your organisational capability needs are for a different project, please make a separate application to the Capability Fund.

31. What kinds of technical equipment costs are eligible under capital items? (added 5 October)

On the Adaptation Fund information under ‘see what’s funded’ we explain that the types of activity you can apply for can include capital items that are directly related to the change focus of your organisation, not including renovating or buying buildings. For example, technical equipment, IT software or hardware including databases.

IT software and hardware can also include data cabling and website infrastructure. Technical equipment may include physical items that are not fixed and can be re-located such as audio-visual or electronic equipment, rigging, lighting, drapes, seating, or display equipment.