Creative New Zealand response to COVID-19 - Updated 3 August 2020

17 Mar 2020

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We’re actively monitoring the impact of the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) on the arts community, and exploring all options for how we can support you through this time and beyond. We’ll update use this page when we have news about opportunities, activity and our position. We encourage everyone to follow Ministry of Health guidelines.

Last updated Monday 3 August 2020.

Find COVID-19 information on this page:

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26 June 2020

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24 April 2020

Since opening our Emergency Response Package last week (14 April) we’ve received a huge number of applications and awarded over $1.4 million across our Emergency Relief Grant and Arts Continuity Grant. Results:

23 April 2020

14 April 2020

6 April 2020

2 April 2020

24 March 2020

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19 March 2020

17 March 2020

More about our approach

Overall our approach, like other New Zealand organisations, is to try to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our people, our whānau, our communities (both national and international), and our organisation. 

We’re actively monitoring COVID-19 updates and advice from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the World Health Organization. We’re also keeping a close watch on how other government agencies and organisations in New Zealand and around the globe are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ll update our website so you are always aware of our position.

We have plans in place to look out for our staff and provide business continuity. We’re also seeking to better understand the consequences of COVID-19 on arts practitioners, arts organisations and individuals. This work is a priority for us. The Arts Council has met and will meet again to make decisions necessary to support the sector in response to COVID-19, and our Audit and Risk Committee will continue to meet whenever required to revise our position if/when necessary. 

If you’re concerned about the potential impact of COVID-19 on your arts project or funding application with us, we’ve also provided some information for you below.

Advice about currently funded projects - 24 March 2020

We have outlined some potential scenarios along with our position and advice for these. 

Please note: this advice is about project funding grants – not for activities within our Tōtara and Kahikatea investment clients’ agreed programmes and budgets.

We encourage you to take time to consider the impact of COVID-19 on your project and contact us when you are ready. We anticipate it will take us some time to be able to respond to everyone with affected projects, as well as those enquiring about our recently announced Emergency Response Package. If you need to make changes to your projects due to the impact of COVID-19, please be reassured there will be no negative ramifications for your future funding applications.

Please read the scenarios below and email us if you need to make changes to your project as a result of the impact of COVID-19. We will then contact you to discuss.

Email us at

SCENARIO 1: Due to COVID-19, the arts project I’ve already received Creative New Zealand funding for has been postponed or I wish to delay the project.

If you need more time to complete your project, you can request a one-year extension from the original project end date.

The grant amount awarded for your project cannot be changed but budget lines (ie. how you can spend the money/what you spend the money on) can be changed, with agreement.

SCENARIO 2: Due to COVID-19, the arts project I’ve already received Creative New Zealand funding for has been cancelled.

If you have spent some of your grant, you will need to return any of the unspent grant to us if it is greater than 10% of the grant. The following also applies:

  • You should seek refunds for any costs that you have already incurred. You will need to provide proof for any costs already incurred that are non-refundable.
  • You can reallocate your grant to honour personnel costs or contracts with freelancers and artists who would have been involved with delivering your project. You will need to detail for us where you intend to reallocate this funding and have that agreed in advance.
  • You can reallocate some of your grant to lost income if the projected income was listed in your application budget. You can deduct this from funds that may need to be returned.
  • Any variances from your original project and/or budget need to be reported on in your project completion report.

If you have spent all of your grant and can provide proof that it was spent on costs that are non-refundable, you will need to report this in your project completion report.

SCENARIO 3: I am facing changing costs for my arts project due to COVID-19 but plan to go ahead with the project.

We appreciate that costs and ways of delivering projects are significantly changing. The grant amount awarded for your project cannot be changed but budget lines (ie. how you can spend the money/what you spend the money on) can be changed, with agreement.

SCENARIO 4: I have been funded but haven’t yet requested payment of the grant.

Your grant is still available for you, however please do not feel rushed to request payment, given your project may need to be adapted. Once you receive your grant, you will need to provide a statement advising us whether there is a change to the project plan, or if you wish to follow any of the guidelines already laid out above eg. extension request or changing the budget lines.

Please note, we will not release the funds until three months prior to the project start date.

SCENARIO 5: My arts project is not currently impacted by COVID-19 and I plan to go ahead with the project.

No action is required, but please contact us if the situation changes.

SCENARIO 6: I would like my application to a now closed or suspended funding round to be submitted directly to the Emergency Response Package.

Due to the completely changed environment and potentially different application criteria, you will need to make a new application. We will ensure it is as simple as possible. If your application has been withdrawn from a suspended programme, you can access it on your Portal dashboard, and you will be able to take content from it into a new application.

We encourage all artists, art practitioners, arts groups and arts organisations to first be looking at the Government’s Economic Response Package, and specifically the WINZ COVID-19 Support for Self-employed and Employers to provide hardship support. This includes the COVID-19 Leave Payment and the Wage Subsidy.

SCENARIO 7: I am due to submit a project completion report however I am delayed in completing it due to the COVID-19 situation.

We appreciate that COVID-19 is having an impact on people’s ability to deliver and complete projects. If you require an extension, you can request this in the Portal.

SCENARIO 8: My application has been withdrawn from a suspended programme

Rest assured, your application is still accessible on your Portal dashboard. You can draw information from it and copy content in to an application to the Emergency Response Package or a future programme.

SCENARIO 9: I’m part of the Aotearoa delegation that was heading to Hawai’i in June 2020 for the Festival of Pacific Arts (FestPAC) – which has been postponed.

Creative New Zealand will work with the FestPAC Commission to understand what this will mean for the New Zealand delegation and will provide an update when possible.

In the meantime, please read the statement on our website in response to the initial postponement announcement from festival organisers. You can also email our project team with any specific questions:

Resources and information

Useful websites to consult for up to date information and advice: