Adaptation Fund 2020

This new fund is designed to support transformation or significant development of the business model and/or artistic practice of organisations in the Toi Uru Kahikatea or Toi Tōtara Haemata investment programmes. The fund encourages new ways of working within changed environments and supports new and adapted organisational models in response to the opportunities presented by COVID-19. We’re interested in proposals focused on a re-think of organisational systems and processes and the adoption and deployment of digital technologies and solutions.


Varies depending on proposal
Find out who got funded recently

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as All Artforms .

Funding rounds

Opening dates:
Closing dates:
Notification dates:
Round 1
31 Aug 2020, 12pm
16 Oct 2020, 1pm
4 Dec 2020

1. Check your eligibility

Who can apply

Creative New Zealand investment clients receiving funding via the Toi Tōtara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea programmes.

Project timing

Your project, or the stage of it for which you are seeking funding, must:

  • start after 31 December 2020
  • be completed by 31 December 2021.

When applying, 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.

We will also continue to comply with government advisories (including alert levels) and/or border controls. 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.

How often you can apply

Only one application can be submitted per organisation. This includes a joint application if partnering with other organisations.

Organisations may apply to both the Adaptation Fund and the Capability Fund. If you apply to both funds, your applications will be reviewed together, with consideration made to whether your organisation has the capacity to successfully deliver both proposed projects.

Other Creative New Zealand funding

The proposed activity must:

  • extend beyond what Creative New Zealand funded your organisation to deliver pre-COVID
  • 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 and Tōtara organisations must align with all three features of the Investment Strategy.

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

Successful funding does not guarantee that the project or activity will be funded in the future.

Breaches of agreements

We cannot consider an application if you, your organisation, or key members of your project team are in breach of the conditions of a current funding agreement, which includes missing the deadline for reporting on a previous grant or other funding contracts.

For more information see our Funding guidelines – breaches of agreement

2. See what's funded


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

The purpose of the fund is 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.

What we fund

We are interested in receiving proposals that focus on a re-thinking of organisational systems and processes and the adoption and deployment of digital technologies and solutions. This can include new ways of engaging with audiences and participants. For example:

  • Increasing digital literacy, the digitisation of analogue content and the use of digital technologies to make work and distribute it.
  • The transformation of organisational models.
  • Increased public access to the arts via the use of digital technologies and solutions.

The types of activity you can apply for can include:

  • fees to support external consultation, advice and implementation (including fixed term contractors)
  • professional development or training costs for staff
  • research and development costs for new products or services
  • 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.

Activities not covered by this Fund

  • Business as usual activities. We define ‘business as usual’ as the core programme of activity we funded your organisation to deliver pre-COVID, and the business model you had in place to deliver it.
  • Extension of activities already being delivered by your organisation. This fund is not designed to extend business as usual activities already being delivered by your organisation pre-COVID. 
  • Hiring new permanent staff.
  • Activities that are not able to be accomplished during current COVID restrictions (i.e. at the time of the fund’s closing date at the time we notify you of your application result.

Organisations applying to this fund must also complete and submit their 2021 Programmes and Budgets using the separate form on the Creative New Zealand Portal before 1pm 16 October.

Applications submitted by organisations who have not also submitted a complete 2021 Programme and Budget will not be eligible. There will be no exceptions or extensions to this date. Organisations who do not apply to this fund or who are unsuccessful will be required to submit their 2021 Programmes and Budgets on 20 November 2020.

What we don’t fund

  • Activities that another Creative New Zealand funding programme or initiative is designed to support.
  • Activities funded by other government agencies.
  • Education resources and activities that are part of a course of study in New Zealand including early learning, school or further education.
  • Game design, fashion design and commercial design.
  • Renovating or buying buildings, or restoring marae.
  • Activities that are part of the core business of a Tertiary Education Organisation (TEO).
  • Activities that are part of the core business of a territorial local authority or Council Controlled Organisation.

For more information see our Funding guidelines – what we don’t fund

3. Make an application

Register or Log in

How to apply

  1. Log in to the portal and selecting Adaptation Fund 2020.
  2. Read the Funding guidelines
  3. Prepare a budget. Read and watch videos about budgets at Funding guidelines – standard project budget template
  4. Gather support material. Read the Funding guidelines - support material
  5. Complete each question in the portal application form.
  6. Submit your draft Programme and Budget for 2021 in the Portal (from your Totara or Kahikatea 2020 Application) using the separate form in the Portal by 1pm 16 October 2020.
  7. Submit your application by 1pm on 16 October 2020.

4. Assessing applications

What we assess your application on

External peer assessors will assess your application using the following criteria:


Is it a strong idea? We look for the following indicators:

  • 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


Can it be achieved? We look for the following indicators:

  • Process: The process to achieve the idea is realistic and well planned.
  • Budget: The budget is thorough and accurate.
  • Capacity: The proposed activity is suited to the capacity of the organisation.

Strategic fit

Does it deliver to Creative New Zealand outcomes? We look for the following indicators:

  • Strategic Outcome: The project delivers to the selected Creative New Zealand strategic outcome.
  • Resilience: The resulting change in the organisation’s delivery model and/or arts practice is likely to increase its resilience.
  • Purpose: The project outcomes are aligned with the core purpose of the organisation.

Creative New Zealand strategic outcomes

In your application you must choose one of these Creative New Zealand strategic outcomes to be assessed on:

  • High-quality New Zealand art is developed.
  • New Zealanders experience high-quality arts.
  • New Zealanders participate in the arts.
  • New Zealand arts gain international success.
  • New Zealand’s arts sector is resilient.

See our Funding guidelines - Strategic Outcomes for more information.

Scoring your application

Our assessors use the following assessment scale to score each indicator under the criteria.

3 – Outstanding – Exceeds the indicator
2 – Good – Satisfies the indicator
1 – Poor – Does not meet the indicator

How we assess your application

Peer assessment is critical to Creative New Zealand’s decision-making process for funding, with external peer assessors using their knowledge and expertise to provide independent and impartial advice.

Two external peer assessors will assess your application, using the assessment criteria and assessment scale listed above, and resulting in a total possible score per assessor of 24.

Following assessment, an assessment panel will be convened, providing an important opportunity for our peer assessors to discuss the collective merits of projects within the funding round.

This panel will have representation across artforms and will consist of external peer assessors who have assessed the applications being discussed. The panel will make recommendations for funding by coming to a consensus at the meeting. Creative New Zealand staff will provide advice where required.

After the panel meeting, Creative New Zealand holds an internal moderation meeting, without assessors present but including the facilitator of the panel meeting where possible/relevant. At this meeting staff consider the assessment scores, commentary and ranked order, as well as whether the range of recommended projects will meet the purposes of the programme and whether there are any gaps in achieving our strategic outcomes. On occasion the moderation group’s final recommendations may differ from those made by the panel (for example, if one artform or community is considerably under-represented).

The moderation group makes final recommendations to Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager for Arts Development Services (up to $100k), the Chief Executive (up to $250k) or the Arts Council (above $250k), who makes the final decision of which applications will receive funding.

Who are our External Peer Assessors?

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.

You can nominate peer assessors – information and nomination form below:

Peer Assessor nomination form (doc 167KB)

Peer Assessor terms and conditions (pdf 259KB)

For more information about the assessment process and criteria see our Funding guidelines - assessment

5. Notification of results

We will email everyone their result on Friday 4 December 2020.

We also list successful grant recipients on Who got funded

If you are successful, we will contact you about your:

  • funding agreement
  • payment schedule
  • reporting requirements.

6. On completion

A project completion report will be required twelve weeks following the completion of your project. To be considered for further funding, your report needs to be submitted on time.

Login to report online

7. Who to contact

For more information or advice email