Capability Fund 2020

This newly established Capability Fund is designed to support 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.

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as All Artforms .

Funding rounds

Opening dates:
Closing dates:
Notification dates:
Round 1
31 Aug 2020
18 Sep 2020, 1pm
9 Oct 2020
Round 2
31 Aug 2020
2 Oct 2020, 1pm
23 Oct 2020
Round 3
31 Aug 2020
16 Oct 2020, 1pm
13 Nov 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.
  • The nine organisations that submitted an Expression of Interest in March 2020 to take part in our developmental programme Te Puāwaitanga are also eligible to apply.

Project timing

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

  • commence after date of notification. Notification dates are:

Application submitted by                Result notified by

1pm 18 September 2020                 9 October 2020
1pm 2 October 2020                       23 October 2020
1pm 16 October 2020                     13 November 2020​

  • be completed by 30 June 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 eligible organisations.

Other Creative New Zealand funding

The proposed activity must:

  • extend beyond what Creative New Zealand currently funds your organisation to deliver.

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

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 agreement with Creative New Zealand.

For more information see our Funding guidelines – breaches of agreement

2. See what's funded


The newly established Capability Fund is designed to support 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.

Organisations can apply for costs up to $30,000 towards supporting critical and high-risk aspects of their organisations, such as staff well-being/hauora, risk management, scenario planning, business continuity, digital, audience or community engagement, income diversification and financial planning.

The Capability Fund is based on the new Poutama competency framework that was developed as a result of the review of the capability building programme in 2019. Poutama adopts a holistic approach to organisational development based on our Investment Strategy, Te Hā o Ngā Toi Māori Arts Strategy and the Pacific Arts Strategy. Poutama will deliver to our outcome of a stronger arts sector by working with arts organisations in Aotearoa to be artistically and organisationally resilient and innovative. Organisations need to have the skills, values and behaviours to anticipate and respond to both immediate and future challenges of the future to remain relevant.

The Capability Fund focuses on the ‘4 Wells’ within the Poutama competency framework that are most aligned with strengthening organisational foundations:

  • Well-being: Hauora – Health; Manahau – Resilience; Whakarite – Balance; supported by a Hapori – Community.
  • Well-resourced: Staffing; funding; tools such as planning.
  • Well-trained: Industry expertise, business skills, cultural capacity (reo, tikanga, working with Māori - whānau-centred models; tuakana-teina).
  • Well-led: Governance and diverse thinking.

What we fund

The types of activity you can apply for include:

  • consultancy fees towards adapting or refining plans or strategies (e.g. digital, strategic, risk, fundraising or audience engagement strategies or plans)
  • training costs to support or upskill staff and/or associated expenses in critical areas (e.g. online workshops for staff or Board to build digital skills; hauora/well-being training; tools to diversify income)
  • fees for fixed-term/contract roles or project-based consultancy to provide specialist services or advice over a fixed period (e.g. pastoral support, coaching or mentoring)
  • research costs including surveys or studies into community or audiences.

The areas of capability building you can apply for include, but are not limited to:

  • digital strategy and implementation
  • hauora/well-being training or pastoral care for leaders and teams or the wider arts community
  • coaching or mentoring to support key staff in leadership roles
  • cultural competency training
  • business continuity
  • crisis or change management
  • risk management and scenario planning
  • audience and community engagement strategy and implementation
  • audience research to understand changes in audience behaviour
  • income diversification training, tools and coaching
  • governance training, including urgent recruitment needs or duties of care when governing in times of crisis
  • international strategy development and skills development.

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.
  • Business as usual activities, or an extension of activities already being delivered by your organisation.
  • 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.
  • Purchase of capital items, including IT or digital platforms, 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

Additional activity guidelines and advice

Specific requirements and guidelines apply to some activities so you must check if any are relevant to your application. For more information see our Funding guidelines - activity guidelines and advice

Funding limits

The maximum amount you can apply for is $30,000 plus GST.


Here are some answers to some possible questions about this new fund.

Read the Capability Fund 2020 FAQs

3. Make an application

Register or Log in

How to apply

  1. Log in to the portal and select Capability 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 application by 1pm on one of the closing dates:
  • 18 September 2020
  • 2 October 2020
  • 16 October 2020.

4. Assessing applications

Applications will be reviewed by staff and recommendations for funding approved by the Senior Manager, Arts Development Services. 

5. Notification of results

We will email everyone their result on the following notification dates:

Application submitted by                Result notified by

1pm 18 September 2020                 9 October 2020
1pm 2 October 2020                       23 October 2020
1pm 16 October 2020                     13 November 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