Skip to main content

COVID-19 Delta Relief Funding

The Delta variant outbreak in August 2021 and the subsequent measures to protect New Zealand from the virus had a significant effect on our cultural sector.

This package helped to address immediate relief needs and provide confidence for the cultural sector.

In September 2021 as a response to the Delta outbreak, it was announced that $37.5 million funding was brought forward from the existing $374 million COVID Arts and Culture recovery programme

The following measures were announced as part of the Delta Relief Funding package in September 2021. 


Cultural agency supports 

$10 million funding was provided to cultural agencies to enable them to support at-risk organisations, key infrastructure, artists and projects: 

  • $5 million to Creative New Zealand to support at-risk organisations, including festivals and community arts organisations, and to provide employment and continuity of practice for creative practitioners  
  • $3 million to the New Zealand Music Commission to support the continued operation of key music infrastructure, and to provide support to artists, venues and key support sectors, to adapt to new Delta Level 2 requirements and manage the uncertainty of COVID-19 alert levels 
  • $1 million to Te Papa/Museums Aotearoa to increase the Museums Hardship Fund and work with the museum sector on their sustainability and viability, and   
  • $1 million to the New Zealand Film Commission for further relief to productions in extraordinary circumstances and to avoid abandonment where the Screen Production Recovery Fund or indemnity has not been sufficient to manage the costs of the restrictions given the extent of this lockdown.  

Further details of $10 million funding to cultural agencies: Cultural Agency Supports 

Manatū Taonga Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund 

The Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund, is a fund of last resort to support cultural organisations, including sole traders, at clear risk of no longer operating viably is open for application or reapplication. 

Under the Delta package, $5 million was provided in funding for the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund. This was increased by $35.5 million in the Omicron support package.  

More information is available here: Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund 

Screen Production Recovery Fund extension  

The Screen Production Recovery Fund (SPRF) has been critical to maintaining confidence in the sector, attracting finance, and keeping production activity going. It allows screen productions that meet eligibility criteria to claim some of the costs imposed by increased alert levels and is accessed through either the New Zealand Film Commission or NZ on Air. It had previously been extended to 31 December 2021.  

The Delta package made $12.1 million available for the Screen Production Recovery Fund to cover costs related to increased alert levels through until June 2022.  

Under the Omicron support package, a further $15 million in additional money was provided to this scheme.  

Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme

The Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme is a fund to help provide confidence for the arts and culture events sector to continue organising in the coming summer months. 

The Delta Package initially provided $22.5 million for the Arts and Culture Event Scheme. The Omicron support package provided and additional $70.5 million for this scheme.

More information is available here: Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme 

What about the other COVID recovery Funds? 

Manatū Taonga is also evaluating how best to utilise the remaining funds in the $374 million Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Package announced last year, to ensure every dollar goes toward meaningfully supporting the sector. 

The Cultural Sector Innovation Fund, which is currently being delivered through the nationwide events series Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa, will complete its current programme of events although some will be presented online where necessitated by the COVID Alert Level.   

Other initiatives within the Arts and Culture Recovery Programme will have timelines and details confirmed soon. 

There will also be further investment through the cultural wellbeing stream of the Creative Arts Recovery and Employment (CARE) Fund but due to reprioritisation of funding for Delta relief, Manatū Taonga will not progress the final two streams of CARE: 

  • Showcasing the regions, which sought to invest in projects that showcase local culture and history in the region 
  • Untold stories, which sought to bring more diversity to storytelling and content creation in the mainstream cultural sector. 

Increasing access, participation, and diversity in the cultural sector remains a priority for Manatū Taonga, and we will be evaluating further opportunities to achieve this goal within existing funding opportunities and into the future. 

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please get in touch by emailing [email protected] 



Updated on 30th May 2022