Toi Ake Fund

NOW CLOSED: We've reached our maximum number of 200 submitted applications for round 2 of Arts Grants, which includes Toi Ake Fund. The next round opens on 22 Feb 2021. The Toi Ake Fund is an initiative tailored to iwi, hapū, whakapapa-based rōpū and mātāwaka to cultivate and retain heritage ngā toi Māori (Māori arts) and foster their distinctive arts and cultural practices.


$10,000 to $75,000
Find out who got funded recently

Artforms funded:

This content is tagged as Ngā toi Māori .

Funding rounds

Opening dates:
Closing dates:
Notification dates:
Round 1
17 Sep 2020
25 Sep 2020, 01:00 pm
17 Sep 2020
Round 2
Yet to open
22 Feb 2021
26 Mar 2021, 01:00 pm
16 Apr 2021

1. Check your eligibility

Who can apply

To apply for the Toi Ake Fund, you must be:

  • Tangata Whenua Māori, or your proposed project must be managed or directed by Māori
  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident (each individual).

New Zealand-based organisations can apply but the organisation must be Māori-led. If an organisation is applying for funding on behalf of an individual, that person must also be Māori.

International arts organisations can apply but the application must show direct benefit to New Zealand arts.

Note: We always receive many more applications that meet our criteria than we are able to fund. A decline is not necessarily a reflection of the quality or value of an application.

Project timing

The project, project phase or programme of activity you are seeking funding for must be completed in a 12-month period, and within 15 months from the date of notification (for notification dates see Section 5, Notification of results).

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

The Toi Ake Fund is part of the Arts Grants programme, and the guidelines for Arts Grants apply:

  • You can apply once in an Arts Grants round.
  • You can apply up to two times in total through the Arts Grants programme in the financial year 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021. This includes the Toi Ake Fund, Louis Johnson New Writer’s Bursary, Toi Tipu Toi Rea Fund, Tup Lang Choreographic Award and Todd New Writer’s Bursary.
  • Only one application can be submitted per round (two in total across all of the rounds).
  • Each of the two applications must be for a different project.
  • Note that if you are eligible and are applying to Annual Arts Grants, you cannot make an application to Arts Grants for rounds 1–3 (between 3 August–13 November).

Re-applying for a previously declined project

Projects previously declined across any Creative New Zealand funding opportunities cannot be resubmitted.

Other Creative New Zealand funding

  • Your project or project phase must not have received funding from any of our funding programmes or initiatives, including the Creative Communities Scheme.  
  • Organisations in the Toi Uru Kahikatea or Toi Tōtara Haemata investment programmes are not eligible to apply.
  • Does your project involve organisations in our Toi Uru Kahikatea or Toi Tōtara Haemata investment programmes? Do you intend to partner with, or present at one of these organisations? If so, you must supply a letter from them that outlines their contribution to the project.

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 contract.

For more information see our Funding guidelines – breaches of agreement

2. See what's funded


The Toi Ake Fund supports marae, hapū, iwi, whakapapa-based rōpū and mātāwaka to cultivate and retain heritage ngā toi Māori (Māori arts) and foster their distinctive arts and cultural practices.

The fund is offered twice a year with calls for applications in August 2020 and February 2021. Funding requests can be for projects between $10,000–$75,000.

What we fund

Toi Ake projects supported include:

  • heritage arts such as ngā mahi a Te Whare Pora
  • wānanga that pass on mātauranga and skills of karanga, whaikōrero, karakia, mōteatea, pao and whakapapa recitation
  • contemporary arts projects and the artworks of new wharenui.

Note: we do not fund marae restoration.  For marae restoration support please contact Te Puni Kōkiri’s Oranga Marae programme.

Arts Grants Programme Purposes

The Toi Ake Fund is part of Creative New Zealand’s Arts Grants programme. The programme offers short-term project funding to emerging and established New Zealand artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations (including groups and collectives). We have specific goals, called programme purposes, that we want to achieve through the Arts Grants programme.

Arts Grants programme purposes:

  1. More sustainable careers for individual artists and arts practitioners.
  2. Development of arts practice.
  3. Innovation in New Zealand arts.
  4. Opportunities for diverse communities to access and participate in high-quality arts

We need to know how your project will contribute to the programme purposes. You need to tell us in your application how your project will deliver to one or more of the programme’s purposes.

For more information see our Funding guidelines - Arts Grants programme purposes

Special guidance           

Limited applications in funding rounds

To manage the significant demand for funding and the available funds, and to ensure quick decisions, we have introduced an application limit. We can only process the first 200 applications submitted for each Arts Grants round (a total of 1,600 applications can be submitted across all eight rounds, an increase on our previous annual total). Once 200 applications have been submitted, or the closing date has been reached, the round will close to any further submissions. If you have an unsubmitted application in the portal when the round closes, you will still be able to access it and copy any relevant sections of it into a new application to a new round. See the opening dates under Make an application

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

Funding is available to support artists and practitioners to engage in a variety of international activity. Make sure you read the updated international activity guidelines before submitting an application.

We anticipate that the majority of activity involving an artist or practitioner participating overseas will occur virtually for much of this year. If your project requires international travel you will need to follow official travel advice. You and your international partners should carefully consider the additional risks of travel. 

You can only include international travel in your application if the government travel advisory permits it at the time of application. We will not accept 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

Creative New Zealand strategic outcomes

As well as achieving one or more of the programme purposes above, you also need to specify which of Creative New Zealand’s strategic outcomes your activity or project aligns with. We are focused on achieving these long-term goals or strategic outcomes to develop a strong and dynamic arts environment.

They are:

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

For more information  see our Funding guidelines - strategic outcomes

Aligning with our Māori Arts Strategy

The purposes of the Arts Grants programme align with the features of Te Hā o ngā toi – Māori Arts Strategy, as well as our Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua, and our Pacific Arts Strategy. These strategies may be useful in helping you explain the purpose of your project or activity.

See more about our strategies in our funding guidelines about our Māori Arts Strategy Te Hā o ngā Toi and our Pacific Arts Strategy

Read our Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua


Applications to this fund should adopt a fair remuneration approach within application budgets. For more information see our Funding guidelines - remuneration

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

Funding limits

The minimum amount you can apply for is $10,000. The maximum amount you can apply for is $75,000 but lower limits apply to some activities.

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 for the Toi Ake Fund.
  2. Select the Arts Grants round that you wish to apply in (Toi Ake Fund will be offered in Arts Grants rounds 2 and 6, under funding type). Applications will open on the following dates for each round. Note that each round has a maximum of 200 applications that can be submitted (see point 7 below):

Round                                    Opening date

Arts Grants Round 2             24 Aug 2020
Arts Grants Round 6             22 Feb 2021

  1. Read the Funding guidelines
  2. Prepare a budget. Read and watch videos about budgets at Funding guidelines – standard project budget template
  3. Gather support material. Read the Funding guidelines - support material
  4. Complete each question in the portal application form.
  5. Submit your application online by 1pm on the closing date (earlier if you can). If the maximum 200 applications has already been reached, you won’t have the option to submit your application for this Toi Ake round. You will be able to cut and paste your material into a new application for the next Toi Ake round, or for an Arts Grant (already open or when it opens).


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 artistic aims are clearly expressed.
  • The idea is compelling.
  • The artistic outcome and/or participant experience is likely to be high quality.


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 and considers fair remuneration for practitioners.
  • The people involved have sufficient experience to deliver this project.

Strategic Fit

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

  • The project delivers to the selected strategic outcome.
  • The project delivers to the selected Arts Grants programme purpose(s).

Mātauranga Māori

In addition to the above, applications will also be assessed on:

Creative New Zealand strategic outcomes and Arts Grants programme purposes

All activity you are seeking funding for must align with both Creative New Zealand’s strategic outcomes and programme purpose(s).

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

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

See our funding guidelines - Strategic Outcomes for more information.

You must also choose one or more of these Arts Grants programme purposes to be assessed on and tell us how your project will achieve it:

  • More sustainable careers for individual artists.
  • The development of arts practice.
  • Innovation in New Zealand arts.
  • Opportunities for diverse communities to access and participate in high-quality arts experiences.

Go to section 2, See what’s funded, for information about programme purposes, international travel and aligning your project with our Māori Arts and Pacific Arts strategies.

Scoring your application

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

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

The following scale is used to score each indicator in Strategic Fit and Mātauranga Māori:

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, resulting in a total possible score per assessor of 23.

Following assessment, assessment panels will be convened for each round, 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. 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, who decides 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 three weeks after the closing date of their application round, on the following dates (Fridays):

Round 1           16 Oct 2020
Round 2           16 Apr 2021

We also list successful grant recipients on Who got funded.

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

  • funding agreement
  • payment schedule
  • reporting requirements.

Note that we are expecting high levels of demand for all Arts Grants programme funds and, unfortunately will not be able to provide individualised feedback on all applications.

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