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Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme supporting information

Pūtea Tautoko mō ngā Huihuinga Aro Toi
Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme

This fund is now closed.

What you need to know to register

This guide helps you understand:

  • who can register for the scheme
  • what types events and costs are eligible for support
  • what information you will need to provide, and
  • what the registration process involves.

We recommend you read this guide carefully before starting your registration.

Updated 13 September 2022 


Recent changes to the scheme

The key changes to the content and coverage of the scheme include:

Updated details clarifying the eligibility for payment following the removal of the COVID-19 protection framework, including updating the scheme’s payment eligibility.

What this scheme is for

The Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme is designed to help organisers of arts and cultural events have confidence to commit to and deliver events due to Government restrictions placed on events in response to COVID-19.

The scheme supports arts and cultural events by providing up to $300,000 to cover non-recoverable financial losses for events that meet the eligibility for coverage outlined below.

How long this scheme will be available

The scheme will provide cover for events until 31 January 2023.

Eligibility to register for the scheme

If you are an event organiser planning to deliver an arts and cultural sector event in the period up to 31 January 2023, then this scheme is for you.

You’re eligible to register if you or your organisation:

  • are the event organiser
  • are based in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • can prove your current NZ legal status
  • have the primary financial responsibility for delivery of the event
  • can prove your event meets the event eligibility criteria
  • submit your event registration within the required registration timeframes.

To be eligible, your event must:

When you can seek payments through this scheme

The reasons why registered events can access coverage for non-recoverable losses applies to events that:

  • are unable to go ahead, or which experience overall financial loss, as a direct result of Government restrictions placed on events in response to COVID-19
  • are unable to go ahead, or which experience overall financial loss, as a direct result of a lead performer having to isolate with COVID-19.

What is an arts and cultural sector event?

Arts and cultural sector events are presentations or performances by arts or cultural sector organisations and/or practitioners to members of the public who attend the event primarily for the purpose of viewing that presentation or performance.

Examples of eligible events include:  

What non-recoverable costs are covered by the scheme?

  • Fees for local artists and performers. They must receive full payment as if the event had gone ahead. This applies even if you have contracts which allow for less payment.
  • Local production crew and companies. They must receive full payment as if the event had gone ahead. This applies even if you have contracts which allow for less payment. 
  • International artist and production fees. These will be covered up to the cancellation costs included in the contracts, including consideration of any COVID related clauses. Fees for artists that are unable to perform due to border related issues are not covered.
  • Venue hire fees. Venues must receive at least 50% of their hire fee as payment. This applies even if you have contractual agreements which allow for less payment. If there are signed contracts in place between the event organiser and the venue requiring more than 50%, the higher value in the contract will apply.
  • Non-refundable and non-transferable deposits and event costs that have already been paid, and other event related debts that are owing to suppliers
  • Reasonable costs incurred by the event organiser in the planning and development of the event such as staff time, marketing or advertising.

Key timeframes for the scheme

Scheduled event dates and registration

All events must be registered with the scheme before the scheduled event start date. Late registrations will not be accepted. 

For an event to be eligible for registration the event organiser must either: 

  • be able to show that the event was being planned (committed to the event and the date) before 23 January 2022 or is a recurring event that can demonstrate a history of previous iterations over the last three years. These events should be registered at least four weeks before the scheduled event date, or
  • must have planning underway (committed to the event and the date) and be registered at least two months before the scheduled event start date

Cancellations or postponements

The decision to either cancel or postpone an event should be made within four weeks of the scheduled event start date. You should notify Manatū Taonga of that decision within three days.

For events to receive financial support for a cancellation or postponement they must meet all of the payment eligibility criteria outlined above.

How the scheme works

The scheme is managed through a five-step process, outlined below.

  1. Submit your registration
  2. Receive a letter of commitment
  3. Notify Manatū Taonga of the need for payment
  4. Provide evidence of non-recoverable losses
  5. Receive your payment

1. Submit your registration

Your registration must be submitted via the Manatū Taonga Online Portal before the start date of your scheduled event and in line with the registration timeframes. 

You will need to complete the online registration form and provide the following information:

  • Proof of your current NZ Legal Status

If you are a registered company or charity, we will confirm your legal status by checking your details against either the companies or charities register. 

If you are a Sole Trader, you will need to provide your New Zealand Business Number (NZBN). If your NZBN information is not viewable online, you will need to provide your certificate of confirmation. 

  • Evidence of the financial commitment to your event

To demonstrate your event is committed to the scheduled dates provide:

  • a webpage link to a published event, and/or
  • other written evidence such as:
    • contracts that have been signed with a venue, performer or sponsor
    • evidence of a deposit that has been paid and what it was paid for
    • a funding agreement which details the date of the funded event, or
    • any other documentation which includes the event name, date of the event and the date of a financial commitment to deliver the event on that date.
  • Event budget – Financial Information Template

You must use the Financial Information Template (located in the online portal) to provide us with the forecast financial information for your event.

2. Receive a letter of commitment

If your event is assessed as eligible, you will receive, via email, a Letter of Commitment which sets out the maximum level of financial support for your event. It also sets out the expectations on you, as the event organiser, to receive support from the scheme. 

3. Notify Manatū Taonga of the need for payment

Registered events that meet the payment criteria and are seeking payment should notify us as soon as possible. To do this, please email [email protected].

4. Provide supporting evidence of non-recoverable losses

After you have notified us that you will be seeking payment, we will send you a 'request for additional information' via the online portal.

You will then need to provide us with the following information:

You must use the Event actuals - Financial Information Template to provide us with the actual financial information for your event, so we can determine the level of support you are eligible for.

  • Documentation to verify your actual event financial information

You will need to provide evidence of your financial information. This can include things like venue and artist contracts or invoices and receipts from suppliers. This information helps us to verify your costs and confirm the final value of financial support that we can provide.

5. Receive your payment

Following receipt and assessment of all the supporting evidence, we will calculate the level of financial support and generate a Funding Agreement. A payment will be processed once the Funding Agreement has been signed by both parties.

Event organisers have overall financial responsibility for the event. They are responsible for ensuring that funds are distributed to those eligible for payment. Event organisers must work with any production companies to ensure that their employees or contractors receive full payment as if the event went ahead. 

How we will handle and protect your information

We’ll only use personal information provided in your registration to administer the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme. By registering, you authorise Manatū Taonga to disclose information to, or obtain information from, any other government department or agency, private person, or organisation for the purposes of administering the scheme.

We will hold all of your information securely and will only share it more widely if we must under the law. When we no longer need your information, we will securely archive or destroy it, in accordance with the Public Records Act 2005.

We will publish details such as the event organiser name, the event location, event start date and name of the event. We will not publish any commercial or confidential information unless you agree in writing.

Email us if you’re concerned about the information that we hold about you [email protected]

Q & A – Eligibility for the scheme

We’ve answered a few questions we think you may want to ask. 

Can I register if my event is receiving funding from other entities?

Yes. Recipients of funding from other entities such as Creative New Zealand or the New Zealand Music Commission Touring Fund can apply for non-recoverable losses not met by funding from these entities. Before receiving any financial support, you will need to provide confirmation of any funding that you were able to keep, if you couldn’t deliver your event.

Note that your event cannot be solely funded by Creative New Zealand or the New Zealand Music Commission. To be eligible for this scheme there must be other funding sources such as ticketing or private sponsorship.

Can I register if my event isn’t a cultural sector event but includes a cultural sector element? 

The scheme aims to support events where the audience has chosen to attend primarily for the purpose of seeing performances, rather than socialising or experiencing products such as food or drink. For some non-cultural events, a cultural performance element is a major draw, so the performance-related costs within the wider event could be eligible for the scheme. 

The day-to-day operations of galleries, libraries, archives, theatres, venues, and museums are not considered events and these organisations can only register if there is an exhibition or event that is reliant on ticket sales to cover costs or a cultural sector event which is a major audience draw.  

What costs are excluded from the scheme?

The following are not considered non-recoverable costs:

  • any deposits for which credits are received or that can be transferred forward (e.g., credits for flights or accommodation that can be used by the event organiser for future activity, including a postponement)
  • shortfalls due to the withdrawal of local government or public authority funding
  • purchase of goods for sale or presentation at the event, such as merchandise or food and drink, and any anticipated losses arising from the inability to sell merchandise or bar products or retail losses
  • fees for artists due to MIQ or other border issues or restrictions
  • any event profit which would be used for any costs not directly related to the registered event (for example, money that would be added to financial reserves or fund the costs of another event)
  • any costs related to the purchase of items which might be used to set up an event, that could be used for future events or on-sold (i.e., construction products that are unused, tools, generic costumes)
  • general day-to-day costs of operating a cultural sector organisation (event organiser) are not eligible.

What if my event includes performers who will receive a payment based on the profit from ticket sales?

Payment of companies or people involved in the delivery of an event, which are based on the event making a profit, are considered an obligation and a non-recoverable cost.

Ensure the costs in your financial information include fair and reasonable payments, based on expected profits from ticket sales, for all performers, artists and production crew who are on profit share agreements.

If assessed as fair and reasonable, those payments will be included in the value of any financial support you receive from the scheme.

Will I be covered if my event is expected to make a loss?

If your event is expected to make a loss, you can still register the event for cover.

However, the expected loss will not be covered under the scheme. The agreed financial coverage will be the shortfall between your income and non-recoverable costs, less the expected event loss.

Can the same events be covered more than once?

No. The same event will only be covered once. If an event organiser chooses to receive financial support for losses related to an event postponement, the event cannot also receive support for any new dates.

If your event is an annual event, with a history of delivering annually, you may register your event for each annual instance of the event. This means that if your event is generally delivered every January, you can register each January event. If, however, either of those events is postponed, the single coverage allowance (above) applies to each instance of the event.

My event is part of a festival, can I apply?

Yes. Festivals curate and promote a series of events or performances across multiple locations or venues. Festival organisers should register for costs associated with promoting and organising the festival, as well as any individual festival events which they have financial responsibility for. 

Individual events within a festival, where someone else has the primary financial responsibility for the delivery of the event, should separately register their event for coverage. 

Can I register an event that has international performers and production crew?

Yes, your event may include international performers and production crew.

If your lead performer(s) are international artists who contract COVID-19 and are unable to catch their flight to New Zealand due to this, this scheme will still provide support for your events upon proof that the artist(s) had confirmed MIQ spots (if relevant) and the required visas for entry.

However, the Scheme does not cover event losses where the event has been cancelled because an artist has been unable to perform due to border-related issues.

The financial support for international artists and production crew is limited to the value of the relevant cancellation fees within their contracts with the event organiser. The requirement to reimburse artists and production crew and companies in full does not apply to international artists and production crews and companies.

International artists include all artists who generally reside outside of New Zealand who are entering the country for the purpose of touring or performing. 

Can I register an event that includes performances outside of the registration timeframes?

Events that are a tour or season of performances where all or most of the performances occur during the scheme timeframe (17 December 2021 and 31 January 2023) are eligible to register.

The eligibility timeframe is related to the dates of performances only and does not include planning, preparation, or rehearsal timeframes. This means that if your event starts on 30 January 2023 and runs through to 15 February 2023, it would not be eligible for cover, even though the planning and preparation (and related costs) may largely happen within the eligible timeframe.

What happens if my event is canceled midway through delivery?

The level of financial support provided will be calculated based on the income received against the non-recoverable costs, across all the registered performances/shows.

The level of financial support committed to at registration is an estimate. The final actual financial support will be based on the events actual income and expenditure.  

Can I register my event that is being delivered in a public or outdoor space?

Yes. If your event follows all COVID-19 Protection Framework rules you can register for the scheme. Please see the Events and Gatherings Guidelines for more details.

As of March 25 2022, outdoor events are not covered for cancellation or postponement unless it is due to lead performer illness or isolation, as there are no longer any gathering restrictions under the COVID-19 Protection Framework. 

Can my event receive support if the lead performer(s) contract COVID-19 or are required to self-isolate?

Yes. If an event needs to be cancelled or postponed due to the lead performer(s) contracting COVID-19 or being required to self-isolate (as advised by a Health Authority), you will be eligible for financial support.

If an event is able to go ahead but incurs additional costs due to the lead performer(s) contracting COVID-19 or being required to self-isolate (as advised by a Health Authority), and those additional costs result in your event making an overall loss, you will be eligible for financial support.
Coverage will only be considered if:

  • additional costs are directly related to the performer’s illness and isolation i.e., extra accommodation or flights for an understudy and were not costs that should normally be considered for in an event budget (i.e. understudy fees)
    • isolation needs to occur in a location that is not their home location i.e., if a touring company is in a different city, and there is no way to get home
  • you can provide evidence that you have investigated support through the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme
  • you can provide evidence (if requested) that the lead performer had COVID and was required to self-isolate.

Q & A – Registering your event

We’ve answered a few questions we think you may want to ask. 

How do I submit my registration?

All registrations must be submitted through the Manatū Taonga online portal. To do this you will need to:

  • Sign up as a user
    • If you have signed up before, log in with the same username and password you have previously used.
    • If this is your first time, please sign up as a new user using your personal name and an email you use regularly.
  • Create an account for your organisation
    • If you have created an account before and are applying on behalf of the same organisation, you can use the same account as you used previously.
    • If this is your first time or your registration is on behalf of a different organisation, create an account for that organisation.
  • Submit your application

Once you have created an account you can complete your registration by selecting ‘APPLY’ for the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme.

You can SAVE, close, and return to your registration at any time before you SUBMIT the form. If you SAVE and come back later, you will find your draft registration form under the ‘My Projects’ section at the bottom of your Home page.

You will not be able to SUBMIT your registration until all mandatory questions have been answered. These are marked with an asterisk * and will show up in red if you try to SUBMIT without completing them.

Once you have submitted your registration you will not be able to make any further changes.

For support to do all of the above, please read the online portal user guide.

How do I provide you the financial information for my event?

When you are registering for the scheme, you must provide ‘The Event Scheme Registration – Financial Information Template’. This can be downloaded from the online portal.

This information is assessed to confirm the potential financial support for your event if payment is required.

When you are completing the template, include your:

  • overall income and costs for the event in the green boxes
  • your financial commitments at different timeframes leading up to the event in the red, yellow and blue boxes. We need to see the amount of income you would expect to keep and the costs you would expect at each timeframe.

If you are a multi-location event, do not duplicate your income and costs. Include your overarching income and costs in the top section, and then include any performance specific income and costs for each of the dates across your season or tour.

For some useful tips download the ‘How to complete the Financial Information Template for Registration’ document, from the online portal.

Do I include GST in my financial information?

If you are GST-registered make sure that all financial information excludes GST.

If you are not GST-registered make sure that all financial information includes GST.

What income must be included in the Financial Information Template?

To assess the non-recoverable financial losses of an event we must have visibility of all funding sources. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • all central and local government support that has or will be received, such as:
    • funding grants
    • leave Support Scheme payments (MSD)
  • grants from philanthropic organisations        
  • donations and grants from private funders
  • expected ticket sales and merchandising income (at the likely level if the event was to go ahead)
  • fees from involved entities such as vendor fees.

Before the final value of any financial support is confirmed we may require evidence of which income you received or were able to keep, and which income you did not receive or keep.

Q & A – after you register

We’ve answered a few questions we think you may want to ask. 

How long will it take for my registration to be processed?

Manatū Taonga will process registrations as quickly as possible to determine if the event organiser and event meet the eligibility requirements.

If all relevant information is provided and the financial information is clear and reasonable, relative to other similar events, we aim to provide confirmation within fifteen working days.

Timing for confirmation of your registration will vary depending on the volume of registrations received at any time and the date of your event. Events that are happening earlier than other events, will be given priority.

When will I receive payment for my registered event?

If you notify us that your event cannot be delivered, we will require information verifying your non-recoverable costs and resulting financial loss. The time it takes to receive and assess this information will inform the timeframes for payment.

Following receipt and assessment of all the required information a Funding Agreement will be generated. Payment will be processed once the Funding Agreement has been signed by both parties.

What the terms in the guide mean

Here’s some more detail to help you understand terms in this guide and how they apply to you.

Arts and cultural sector event - clarifying criteria for eligibility

Arts and cultural sector events are presentations or performances by arts or cultural sector organisations and/or practitioners to members of the public who attend the event primarily for the purpose of viewing that presentation or performance.

Examples of eligible events include: 

Events that are not eligible include:

  • sports and fitness events
  • food and drink festivals (unless arts and cultural sector performances are the main draw)
  • fairs, markets, conferences, lifestyle/wellbeing expos, A&P shows etc
  • day-to-day operations of galleries, libraries, archives, theatres, venues and museums
  • gigs in pubs, bars, nightclubs which are part of the normal operating rhythm of the venue (see the definition for eligible ‘Bar/Pub/Nightclub’ gigs).

Attendee capacity

This scheme is for ticketed or un-ticketed I.e., free events with attendee capacity or expected participation of at least 100 and no more than 5000.  It is also for un-ticketed i.e. free events with attendee capacity or expected participation greater than 5000.

The total number is based on a cumulative count of capacity or participation across multi-day events, touring events or events with a ‘seasonal’ run.

Ticketed events with a capacity of greater than 5000 should investigate the Event Transition Support Payment administered by MBIE. If your event exceeds this scheme’s attendee capacity limits and is ineligible for the MBIE scheme, please contact [email protected] as we may be able to consider support options.

Bar/Pub/Nightclub – clarifying criteria for eligibility as an event

To be assessed as an eligible ‘event’ a gig in a bar/pub/nightclub etc. the gig cannot be a part of the ‘resident’ entertainment offered by the venue and must align with ALL of the following criteria (as well as all eligibility criteria):

  • have a named artist and/or band and cannot be for ‘a DJ every Friday night’
  • be either ticketed/door charge, OR paid for using sources other than bar sales or venue operational budgets
  • must be advertised as an event, (i.e., not part of the normal roster of entertainment)
  • have a time limit (i.e., six nights over six weeks, NOT every Thursday night for months on end)
  • each individual gig/date event must meet the capacity/attendance eligibility criteria
  • must only seek the costs of performers and related technical, operational, and marketing costs (i.e., not seeking cover for venue hire, or non-performance related operational expenses such as bar staff or stock).

Organisations with current legal status include:

Events Transition Support Payment Scheme (ETSP)

The ETSP is designed to provide assurance to organisers of large-scale events, so they can continue organising events and is led by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE). Detailed information on the Scheme is available here.

Event organisers cannot choose which scheme they would rather be covered by. 

Manatū Taonga has worked with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment to clarify coverage for events that are budgeted for over 5000 tickets (and therefore are eligible for MBIE's Event Transition Support Payment scheme) but have not yet reached over 5000 actual sales (which, if they remained under 5001 ticket sales, make them eligible for the Manatū Taonga Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme).

Events at an earlier stage of ticket sales can register with Manatū Taonga. Once ticket sales reach 5000 event organisers must request that we cancel their registration so they can apply for the MBIE scheme (subject to meeting all other eligibility criteria). Once an event reaches over 5000 ticket sales it becomes ineligible for the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme. However, if your event does sell more than 5000 tickets but is still ineligible for the MBIE scheme, please get in touch as we may be able to consider an exception and provide cover for your event.

In an instance where an event registered and was approved for coverage by MBIE, prior to the date of their event, but that coverage gets cancelled by MBIE at a later stage due to a lack of ticket sales, we will accept a registration for that event, even if it is after the scheduled start date of their event.

Evidence of commitment

Evidence your event will be available to the public on a particular date and time. Evidence could be demonstrated with a contract that is in place or a deposit that has been paid. This might include proof of your venue booking or deposit, contracts established with performers and/or crew, sponsorship or funding contracts.

Expected event losses

When an event is expected to make a loss, even if it could go ahead under normal circumstances (i.e., where ticket sales or other income are not sufficient to meet the normal and expected costs of the event).

Lead performer(s)

Lead performer(s) are those who have significant impact on the ability to deliver your event or are the main drawcard of your event; if this person(s) contracts COVID-19 or are required to self-isolate (as advised by a Health Authority) you would be unable to deliver your event. 

This can include but is not limited to: 

  • headline act(s)
  • lead actor(s)
  • principal dancer(s).


A binding agreement committing to a payment or other specified action. In context of this scheme the full costs of the local performers/artists and production crews and companies directly associated with the production and delivery of the event are considered obligations. 

Where contracts are not in place, but a verbal or handshake agreement has been reached between the promoter and a supplier, or where payment is based on a share of box office or profit, the promoter can claim reasonable costs to fulfil their payment obligations. 

Primary financial responsibility

Each event can only be registered once, so if there is more than one party involved in the organisation of an event you will need to agree who will submit the registration for the event. This may be the promoter, venue, producer, individual practitioner, or event organiser. 

The person with the primary financial responsibility is the person who is responsible for the planning and organisation of the event, the delivery of the event and payment of all those involved in the event.

If the person with the primary financial responsibility (the event organiser) chooses not to register their event under the scheme, no other party can submit a registration on their behalf.

Production crew and companies 

A person or company hired to provide specialised technical support to deliver the production and presentation of the event, including but not limited to, stage management, lighting or sound technicians, event producers and managers and production designers. 

The event organiser has an obligation to make full payment (as if the event had gone ahead) for these services. This obligation relates to the full service provided including production crew costs and hire of specialist production equipment. 

Production costs include, but are not limited to: 

  • lighting/sound technicians and other technical support 
  • lighting equipment 
  • staging and rigging 

Production costs does not include (not an exhaustive list): 

  • general maintenance staff and security 
  • staff working in ticketing, ushers, cleaning, manning stalls or any other event day support roles 
  • food and beverage related roles and costs
  • general equipment hire (such as, but not limited to, marquees, tables and chairs).

Profit margin

Your profit margin is the amount of revenue generated by running an event. In other words, it is any income remaining after all costs have been paid.

Public event

Open to attendance by all people in New Zealand. This includes ticketed events, where tickets were available for purchase by all people (allowing for any age restrictions required). 

Public authorities

Central government organisations (also known as the public service) that are funded by the crown to engage directly in the economy for public purposes. Local government is also considered a public authority. Examples of public authorities include Crown Entities such as Creative New Zealand and Council Controlled Organisations/CCOs.

Reasonable costs for development, promotion or administration

A fair market rate for products and services directly related to developing, promoting and administering the event.

Costs may include (but are not limited to): 

  • transportation and storage, 
  • printing, marketing and promotional material 
  • staff time which is directly attributed to planning and delivering the event
  • organisation costs which are directly attributed to planning and delivering the event.

Non-recoverable costs

Costs that the event organiser is required to pay i.e., contracted to pay, that cannot be paid or recovered through any other means such as other funders, or a refund or credit note.


Your lead performer(s), must be required to self-isolate by any one of the following, as long as their isolation is not due to international travel: 

  • a registered medical officer - or their delegate e.g., the Ministry of Health or a public health unit or 
  • a registered medical practitioner e.g., your GP or doctors at the hospital, or 
  • the National Investigation and Tracing Centre, or
  •  the current health response requirements.  

Sole trader

Sole traders are people in business or contracting on their own, who are not registered as a company. You can find more information about becoming a sole trader on the website.

Updated on 13th April 2023