Skip to main content

Regional Culture and Heritage Fund

Round Six of the RCHF is now closed

Applications for the sixth round of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) are now closed. Around $7 million was available for distribution.

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Kiri Allan, granted a two-week extension to all intending applicants to Round 6 of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund.  This changed the due deadline for applications from Friday 3 September to Friday 17 September 2021.

Read Minister Allan’s 04 August 2021 media release as well as the 2 September media release about the two-week extension for Regional Culture and Heritage Fund applicants.

Overview of the RCHF

The Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) is a contestable fund of last resort. Its purpose is to assist communities to meet genuine fundraising shortfalls for a range of capital projects at public: performing arts venues; museums; galleries; iwi museums/whare taonga; and/or heritage buildings housing significant collections.


RCHF grant rounds are usually held once per year but the timing and frequency of rounds can vary. Please contact RCHF officials to receive the latest information.

Level of funding available:

The RCHF has limited resources so it contributes typically no more than the last third of a qualifying project’s cost. Applicants will need to be able to demonstrate they have made reasonable efforts to fund their Projects from within their communities and sources like Lotteries before applying. As rounds can be oversubscribed, Projects should not be developed on the assumption that RCHF funding can and will be made available.

Examples of projects that can be considered:

Projects might: be for new buildings or extensions for growing entities; involve seismic strengthening or the modernisation of building plant in existing buildings; involve energy and resource efficiency projects as part of a sustainability upgrade; include works to improve health, safety, and security while also improving accessibility. Strong applications will be for well-documented construction-ready projects which best meet the fund’s purpose and criteria.

Who can apply?

Some entities and activities are excluded under this Fund’s criteria. We recommend all intending applicants contact RCHF officials to discuss their eligibility first before committing to the expense of preparing an application.

While open to applicants from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, the RCHF’s primary focus is to support capital projects outside the main centres of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Projects in those major centres will be considered on a case by case basis.

How to apply

Before submitting an application, all potential applicants should read the RCHF Policy Criteria and Checklist then contact the RCHF officials by phone: (04) 496 6175 or email [email protected] and discuss their project.

Key documents

RCHF Policy, Criteria, and Checklist

Applicant agreement and coversheet form


Can I apply outside of a grant round?

No. Grant rounds enable government to compare and contrast the range of project(s) which have reached their critical mass within their communities but still have genuine fundraising shortfall(s).

Do you have an application form?

The RCHF uses an Application Agreement and Coversheet instead of a funding application form.  This approach provides applicants greater flexibility to promote their projects in their best way.

You can find more FAQs here: RCHF Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Keeping up to date

Interested parties who are not yet ready to apply, but would like to know when rounds are being called, can ask to be registered on the RCHF alerts database by emailing us at [email protected]. Please include a phone number and a brief description of your project.

Previous RCHF Grant Decisions

There were six successful projects in Round 5. All figures are GST excl.:

Waikato Regional Theatre, Hamilton ($3,000,000) towards its new building cost

Aotea Utanganui – The Museum of South Taranaki, Patea ($164,030)

Mahara Gallery, Waikanae (up to $2,165,000)

Pātaka Art + Museum, Porirua ($279,234) towards improving collection storage spaces

Hokitika Museum’s Carnegie Building Project ($794,830)

Chatham Islands Museum ($202,170) towards costs to construct a new museum building.

In addition to these six RCHF grants, during 2020, RCHF officials administered a one-off extraordinary grant of $1.250 million to the Arts Centre, Christchurch towards costs to seismically strengthen its Engineering Block buildings. This grant was made possible with funds returned to this portfolio on the winding up of the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust.

Maps showing the regional spread and key information for all previous RCHF decisions can be viewed below. These maps also show any extraordinary grants decisions administered by the RCHF officials on behalf of Ministers (shaded in grey). 

Click here for a larger copy of the North Island Map.

Click here for a larger copy of the South Island Map.

Help for projects outside the scope of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund

Community sources of funding

Generosity New Zealand provides online search tools which offer access to nearly $4 billion of funds. A relevant website product is givUS which lists more than 1,200 grants and schemes for communities, volunteer organisations, schools, groups, sport clubs and Iwi. You can freely access its database at most council operated public libraries throughout New Zealand.

A range of Lottery Grants are available to support community services. Visit to find out more and to apply online. We recommend contacting Lottery Grants Board officials first to confirm best fit and to hear any changed information in relation to their Funds. Their free phone number is 0800 824 824.

Community Trusts

You can find lists of community trusts here:

Connect with your local Community Foundation

Community Trusts website.

Managed Estates

In addition to enquiring about any grants funds administered by local law firms you may find it useful to familiarise yourself with these two potential sources for funds:

Perpetual Guardian Grants webpage

Public Trust find a grant or scholarship webpage

Government sources of funding

In addition to the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund we recommend that you take the time to familiarise yourself with the following:

Te Puni Kōkiri

People developing Marae based projects can find helpful information on Te Puni Kōkiri's website.

Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund

Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora is a new contestable fund that offers $5.7 million over two years to support marae communities directly with projects that protect and revitalise mātauranga and taonga on marae. The purpose of the fund is to support marae communities to retain, protect, or transmit their mātauranga and care for their taonga. It is one of 18 initiatives that sit under the $20 million Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku Programme which is part of the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme being led by Manatū Taonga.

The Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme

You can find out more about the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme here.

The Museum Hardship Fund (administered by Te Papa)

Details about the Museum Hardship Fund are found on Te Papa's website.

Te Papa’s outreach service team, National Services Te Paerangi (NSTP), has many free how to guides designed with museums, galleries and iwi groups in mind including a fundraising guide.  You can download their resources here.  NSTP also provides Helping Hand grants to museums in need.

Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) 

MBIE administers funds relating to tourism and regional growth. We recommend visiting the MBIE website and their regional website Grow Regions which is the home website for Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (Kānoa – REDIU).

Heritage New Zealand

Private owners of earthquake-prone Heritage NZ listed buildings are encouraged to contact their nearest Heritage New Zealand office to receive fundraising advice and helpful duty of care guidance.

Department of Conservation

DOC has a very helpful funding sources page which may be of interest to rural communities and parties with heritage properties on or near DOC estates.

Sources for Feasibility Study funding

Most capital funding sources will require applicants to provide a robust Feasibility Study with their application. Lotteries and the RCHF currently require this for any projects with a total cost of $0.250 million or more. Your Council, Regional Tourism entity, and or Business Round Table may be able to assist with funding and/or expertise.  Lottery Environment and Heritage may consider applications seeking a contribution towards costs to develop feasibility studies for community projects.


Updated on 6th October 2021