New Zealand/Aotearoa Music Scholarships 2021

The New Zealand/Aotearoa Music Scholarship enables up to two young musicians to undertake study or gain further musical experience at a tertiary institution in New Zealand or overseas.


Up to $16,000 in total, for up to two scholarships
Find out who got funded recently

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as Music .

Funding rounds

Opening dates:
Closing dates:
Notification dates:
Round 1
1 Feb 2021, 1pm
26 Feb 2021, 1pm
19 Mar 2021

1. Check your eligibility

Who can apply

Individuals who are a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

Eligibility for New Zealand/Aotearoa Music Scholarship

To apply for this scholarship, applicants:

  • must have completed, as a minimum, a university degree, diploma, and/or LTCL or LRSM qualification related to your proposed musical studies.
  • are preferably below 25 years of age.

Project timing

Your project, or the stage of it for which you are seeking funding, must start after 19 March 2021. The scholarship can support a maximum of 12 months.

Benefits and track record

To be eligible for Creative New Zealand funding:

  • Your project or activities must directly benefit New Zealand arts, artists or practitioners.
  • You must have a track record of experience and success — this means you must have: 
    • recognition from peers or experts
    • achieved a degree of critical or sales success
    • specialised training or practical experience.

For more information about track record requirements for your artform see our Funding guidelines - the artforms we support

If you don't have the track record we're looking for, you may be able to get funding through the Creative Communities Scheme

How often you can apply

You can make one application to the Music Scholarship 2021 funding round.

Reapplying for a previously declined project

You can request to resubmit a project you've had declined in a past funding opportunity. Be aware that there are strict criteria to meet, and this is at the discretion of Creative New Zealand. For more information see our Funding guidelines – reapplying for a previously declined project

Other Creative New Zealand funding

Your project cannot have received funding from any other Creative New Zealand programme or initiative, including the Creative Communities Scheme, our international and capability building initiatives and investment programmes.

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 New Zealand/Aotearoa Music Scholarship enables young musicians to further their music studies in New Zealand or overseas.

What we fund

Up to $16,000 is available to support up to two 12-month scholarships and is typically awarded for an accredited course of study at a recognised overseas training institution. 

It can only be used for study fees, accommodation and/or living expenses. Please note travel and quarantine costs are not able to be supported.

Special guidance

COVID-19 Alert Levels

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 (just prior to the round notification date published in the funding calendar).

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.

International activity

We will not accept travel or the cost of quarantining or managed isolation as eligible costs.

If advisory or border control information changes during the period between submission and decision Creative New Zealand reserves the right to exercise discretion and/or comply with government advisories and/or border controls.

Read our Funding guidelines - international activity

Previous recipients

Previous recipients are listed on bursaries, fellowships, scholarships and residencies

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.
  • Purchase of capital items, 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

Email Funding Services if you have further questions.


3. Make an application

Register or Log in

​How to apply

  1. Register or Log in to the portal to start your application and select Music Scholarships 2021.

  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 online by 1pm on the closing date.

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:

  • The idea and/or study plan is well expressed.
  • There is a good fit between the musician and the selected study host.
  • This is a timely opportunity for the musician’s career/skills development.


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

  • The process to achieve the idea is realistic and well planned.
  • The budget is thorough and accurate.
  • The musician has sufficient experience and artistic ability to respond well to the opportunity.

Strategic fit

Does it deliver to the Creative New Zealand strategic outcome and the purposes of the scholarship? We look for the following indicators:

  • The project delivers to the strategic outcome – ‘High-quality New Zealand art is developed’.
  • The benefits of this opportunity to the musician are likely to be significant.
  • The scholarship is aligned with their long term goals.

Creative New Zealand strategic outcomes

In your application you must choose this Creative New Zealand strategic outcome to be assessed on:

  • High-quality New Zealand art is developed

Scoring your application

Our assessors use the following assessment scale to score Idea, Viability and Strategic Fit:

7 – Excellent – Exceeds all indicators
6 – Very Good – Satisfies all indicators and exceeds in two
5 – Good – Satisfies all indicators and exceeds in one
4 – Acceptable – Satisfies all indicators
3 – Minor reservations – Satisfies two indicators only
2 – Major reservations – Satisfies one indicator only
1 – Unacceptable – Does not meet the indicators

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 of 21 per assessor.

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 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. 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, 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 all applicants their result on Friday 19 March 2021.

We also list successful applicants on Who got funded

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

  • funding agreement
  • payment schedule
  • reporting requirements.

6. On completion

A project completion report is required within 12 weeks of the project end date. 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 Funding Services