Innovation fund

A three year initiative to support arts organisations to build innovation into their regular practice. This opportunity is open to clients of Creative New Zealand’s Toi Tōtara Haemata and Toi Uru Kahikatea programmes.


Closing dates:

Find out who got funded recently

up to $100,000 per organisation per application. Total available budget per round is $450k.

12 Oct 2018

Artforms funded:

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1. Check your eligibility

Project timing

The project or stage of a project funded for this round must be completed by 31 December 2019. There is one funding round each year for three years. More funding towards a project’s later stages can be applied for in years 2 and 3 of the fund. The whole project must be completed by 31 December 2021.

Eligibility requirements

  • Applicants must be in the Toi Tōtara Haemata or Toi Uru Kahikatea investment programme.
  • Only one application can be submitted per organisation per round.

Late reports and breaches of agreements

We cannot fund you if you, your organisation, or key members of your team:

  • are more than 16 weeks overdue with a report for a previous grant or investment
  • are in breach of the conditions of a current funding agreement
  • were in 'default' of a funding agreement and sent in a late report in the six months prior to the closing date for a new application.

2. See what's funded

The Fund is designed to provide organisations with the opportunity to create value out of new ideas, products, arts experiences, services, or ways of doing things.

The types of activity you can apply for include:

  • technological /digital innovation
  • innovation in a particular area of arts practice
  • reaching new audiences or existing audiences in innovative  ways
  • cross disciplinary innovation activity between the arts and a non-arts field (e.g arts and the environment)
  • innovative ways of working and new models of value creation that drive resilience. For example:
    • an innovative project to generate revenue
    • a project that contributes to the organisation’s mission but tests or demonstrates a completely new way of working.

What’s not funded

  • capital expenditure except for costs related to the delivery of projects focussed on technological/digital innovation.
  • activities that are the funding responsibility of other government agencies, eg feature films, music videos or content for radio or television.
  • fashion design or commercial design.
  • education resources and activities that are part of a course of study in New Zealand.
  • marae restoration or adornments such as whakairo, tukutuku and kōwhaiwhai.
  • buying or renovating buildings.
  • activities that are part of the core business of a Tertiary Education Organisation (TEO) or a territorial local authority (including a Council Controlled Organisation). Applications from staff or contractors of a TEO, or a TEO subsidiary, must disclose the full extent of the support they will receive from the TEO for their proposed project.

Definition of innovation

Creative New Zealand understands innovation as:

Creating value out of new ideas, products, arts experiences, services, or ways of doing things. An ‘innovative’ arts practitioner/organisation will understand the skills and techniques required by their area of arts practice, but will not rely on established ideas, forms or ways of working. They will be actively investigating new ways of working and/or will be taking artistic risks.

The innovation itself will depend on context (when and where the project is to happen). It may exist in the form of the work, the process of creating the work, the way the work is presented, the ways the work engages with its audience, or the way in which skills and techniques are passed on.

3. Make an application


Register or Log in

Submit your application online by 5pm, Friday 12 Oct 2018.

Login or register to apply online

4. Assessing applications

Who assesses your application

External peer assessors will assess your application. Recommendations are made to Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager Arts Development Services for decision.

What we assess your application on

Your application will be assessed on three criteria of idea, viability and strategic fit and each criterion is given a score out of 7. Review the assessment criteria and ensure you respond to these in your application.  You will need to provide sufficient information so that assessors can review your application across these criteria.


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

  • The idea is compelling.
  • The idea meets the Creative New Zealand definition of 'innovation' (definition under 'See what's funded' above).
  • The idea is suited to the purpose, vision and goals of the organisation.


Is it viable?  We look for the following indicators:

  • The proposed activity plan is likely to produce the desired outcomes of the activity.
  • The amount requested is reasonable given the costs of the activity proposed.
  • The budget provides sufficient detail to understand the basis on which financial information has been calculated.
  • The proposed activity is suited to the capacity of the organisation.

Strategic fit

Is there a good fit with the purpose of this fund? We look for the following indicators:

  • The proposed activity includes plans for reflection and learning following the activity.
  • The resulting change in the organisation’s delivery model or arts practice is likely to increase its future ability to deliver high quality art and/or achieve greater public engagement.
  • The proposed activity is likely to have a positive effect on the organisation’s delivery model, whether or not the activity itself is deemed ‘successful’.

Scoring your application

This assessment scale is used to score your application:

7---Excellent: Exceeds all indicators
6---Very Good: Satisfies all indicators and exceeds in more than one
5---Good: Satisfies all indicators and exceeds in one
4---Acceptable: Satisfies all indicators
3---Minor reservations: Satisfies most indicators however there are minor reservations
2---Major reservations: Satisfies some indicators however there are major reservations
1---Unacceptable: Does not meet the indicators
0---There is no evidence provided

5. Notification of results

We will email all applicants of the result on 7 December 2018. 

We also list successful applicants at who got funded​​

6. On completion

At the conclusion of the grant period, grant recipients must submit a project completion report to Creative New Zealand. 

7. Who to contact

For more information or advice contact