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COVID-19 Delta Relief Funding

We’ve heard from the cultural sector that the Delta resurgence is having a significant effect. This package will help address immediate relief needs and provide confidence for the months ahead. 

$37.5m funding will be brought forward from the existing $374 million COVID Arts and Culture recovery programme

The following measures have been announced. 

Cultural agency supports 

$10 million funding 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 this year 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, a fund of last resort which provides up to $5m to support cultural organisations, including sole traders, at clear risk of no longer operating viably is open for application or reapplication. 

Manatū Taonga has created this Fund because there are parts of the sector that are not eligible for support from agencies (Creative New Zealand, New Zealand Film Commission, New Zealand Music Commission and Te Papa).  

Further, there are some business overheads that agency Delta support may not be able to be used for, for example the payment of utilities or rent, which may be key to enabling viable operation 

To qualify for emergency relief funding from Manatū Taonga applicants must be at clear risk of not operating viably and: 

  • demonstrate that other government support is not sufficient 
  • demonstrate the financial hardship is a direct result of COVID-19 restrictions that began on 18 August 2021 

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.  

This further extension will mean that there is $12.1 million available in the Screen Production Recovery Fund to cover costs related to increased alert levels through until June 2022. It is intended that the Screen Production Recovery Fund will be available to the sector if it is required.  

* Funding for this initiative is additional to the $37.5m brought forward from the broader Delta Recovery Package as it has come from previous Screen Production Recovery Fund underspend. 

Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme

The Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme is a fund of up to $22.5 million to help provide confidence for the arts and culture events sector to continue organising in the coming summer months. 

This support scheme is about providing certainty for event organisers, confidence for vaccinated New Zealanders to attend and enjoy events, and reassurance for artists and crew that they can get paid if their events can’t go ahead as planned. 

The Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme covers unrecoverable costs, payments yet to be made to the likes of artists and production crew, and reasonable costs to the promoter or organiser for the planning and development of the event. Support of up to $300,000 is available per eligible event. 

Events with attendee capacity of 100-5000 ticketed or un-ticketed, or more than 5000 un-ticketed (i.e. free) are covered by this scheme. The Events Transition Support Payment Scheme, recently announced by Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash, is designed to support larger, paid-ticketed events with over 5000 attendees. 

Events will need to use the Government’s My Vaccine Pass, in order to be eligible for the scheme. This is particularly important so that other vaccinated New Zealanders can enjoy confidence that the events they’ll attend will be as safe as possible. 

People and organisations which are planning events over the eligible time period are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Registration is essential to apply for support from this Scheme. Registration opens 12pm 1 December 2021. 

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. 

  • Cultural Installations and Events: Round two was due to open in early September. Revised timing will be confirmed soon, likely to be early 2022.   
  • Cultural Sector Capability Fund: Given the uncertainty created by alert levels restrictions responding to the Delta outbreak, and the need to focus immediate challenges, it is likely that Round two will move into 2022.  

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. 

The Ministry was already reconsidering progressing these two streams as planned due to need in other areas. 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] 

Guidance and support for the arts and culture sector during COVID-19 Alert Levels 

COVID-19 resources and links for our sector  

For general guidance and to keep up to date with the current national and regional Alert Levels visit the COVID-19 website. 

COVID-19: About the Alert System 



Updated on 20th January 2022