Creative NZ arts funding

Increased applications by Coromandel artists for Creative New Zealand funding     


Creative New Zealand (CNZ) offers a broad spectrum of funding grants and opportunities for the arts, including financial support for emerging and established artists, art practitioners, groups and organisations.     


The Coromandel, though nationally recognised as an arts hotspot, has until recently been under represented in CNZ funding applications.  In 2016-2017, eight applications were received from applicants from the Coromandel region and two were successful.  In 2017-2018, just one application was received from the region.  2018-2019’s applications are still in process, however it appears that applicants from the region have shown a significant increase, with 15 applications received by CNZ. Increased applications this year look to be disproportionate to the size of the region.     


Cath Cardiff, Senior Manager Arts Development Services at Creative New Zealand attributes the increase in applications to raised awareness and education thanks to 2018’s funding webinar hosted by Creative Coromandel.  The webinar featured representatives from Creative New Zealand, Creative Waikato and Boosted, sharing insight and information in a free online forum about arts funding.       


“People are getting the message,” said Cath.  Creative New Zealand are seeing increased applicants for funding across the country, though Cath adds that with more applications, not all will be successful.       


“In every round, the top are obvious and the bottom are obvious.  There’s a huge group in the middle that are really difficult to select.  Where possible, we will err on the side of geographic debate and try to fund the application that doesn’t have the investment in their area.” 


Creative New Zealand have made a lot of changes to their arts funding application process, reducing barriers and making the process more accessible and transparent.  The online user profile portal allows applicants to save and revisit their application, and the online application process is now more streamlined and efficient.     


Cath encourages applicants to start the process as early as possible and be thorough in reading the fine print to prevent having an application declined on the grounds of ineligibility.     


“The key thing is don’t leave it too late.  Make sure you read the guidelines carefully and prepare properly to give yourself the best chance at a successful application. Help is available via email or phone, though not the week before closing date.”     


Cath says for many people, the hardest part of the application process is to articulate their idea; a requirement from which a budget must be developed as the financial expression of that idea.     


Creative New Zealand have three considerations for all funding applications:  the idea, its viability and its strategic fit with CNZ.     


“With 500 more CNZ funding applications received nationwide this year, there is a real upsurge of activity in the regions.  People all over NZ are showing more appreciation for the arts.”     


Creative New Zealand promote their various funding opportunities when they open via the CNZ website, newsletter, media releases and social media channels. They recommend subscribing to their monthly e-newsletter to keep up to date with upcoming opportunities.      


Current opportunities include:        


1.      Tohunga/tukunga mentoring programme     

The Tohunga Tukunga mentoring programme offers funding to help preserve and pass on contemporary and traditional Nga Toi Maori (Maori arts) knowledge and practice. Three mentoring opportunities are available in each of the three annual funding rounds.           


2.      Toi Ake     

Toi Ake is a funding initiative tailored to iwi, hapu, whakapapa-based roopu and maata waka to cultivate and retain heritage Nga Toi Maori — though it does not support restoration projects. Toi Ake is offered twice a year.           


3.      Toi Tipu Toi Rea – emerging Maori artist grant     

The Toi Tipu Toi Rea is a grant to support Maori artists or practitioners, at an early stage of their career, to undertake an arts project.            


4.      Wild Creations     

Wild Creations offers a minimum of two artists the chance to experience Department of Conservation environments and/or programmes as inspiration for new art work.           


5.      Moana Community Grants     

The Moana Community Grants support and develop Pacific heritage arts (artistic expressions and forms reflecting a particular Pasifika cultural tradition) in regional towns and communities outside of Auckland and Wellington.           


6.      Kava New Leaders Grants     

Kava New Leaders Grants support established practitioners of Pacific heritage arts to pass on their knowledge and skills to up to three potential new leaders in their artform.          


For more, visit


Article published 16 April 2019

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