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Delta and Omicron response packages

In September 2021, as a response to the Delta outbreak, $37.5 million of funding was brought forward from the COVID Arts and Culture recovery programme.   

In early 2022, in response to the Omicron variant and following the shift to the ‘Red’ traffic light setting, the Government provided extra support for the arts and culture sector.  

The funding package was worth more than $121 million, supporting the existing $374 million COVID Arts and Culture recovery programme.   

These packages helped address the immediate relief needs and provide confidence for the arts, culture and heritage sectors. They were delivered using a mixture of cultural agency support and Manatū Taonga initiatives

Cultural agency support

During the Delta outbreak, $10 million was provided to cultural agencies to enable them to support at-risk organisations, key infrastructure, artists and projects.   

  • Creative New Zealand received $5 million to support at-risk organisations, including festivals and community arts organisations, and to provide employment and continuity of practice for creative practitioners.  
  • The New Zealand Music Commission received $3 million for the continued operation of key music infrastructure, support to artists, venues and key support sectors. 
  • Te Papa/Museums Aotearoa received $1 million to increase the Museums Hardship Fund and work with the museum sector on their sustainability and viability.    
  • The New Zealand Film Commission received $1 million 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 the lockdown.    

Screen Production Recovery Fund extension    

The Screen Production Recovery Fund (SPRF) was critical to maintaining confidence in the sector, attracting finance, and keeping production activity going. 

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.    

The Omicron support package provided a further $15 million to this scheme through to at least 31 January 2023, to maximise production activity and minimise the impacts of any COVID-19 outbreaks. The funding was split between New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air.  

Manatū Taonga Initiatives 

Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund  

The Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund – Organisations, was a fund of last resort to support cultural organisations, including sole traders, at clear risk of no longer operating viably.   
Under the Delta package, $5 million was provided for the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund. This was increased by $35.5 million in the Omicron support package and included support for self-employed individuals.    

At the time of closing on 26 May, 65 organisations received support exceeding $3.2 million. 

The Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund – Self-employed individuals was open from Monday 28 February to 5 May 2022. Over 1600 applications were received, and almost $6.5 million was paid out under this scheme to eligible applicants.    

Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme   

The Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme made $22.5 million available to help organisers of arts and cultural events have confidence to commit to and deliver events under the COVID-19 Protection Framework. The Scheme was boosted by $70.7 million as part of the Omicron package to plan and deliver events through to the end of January 2023. As of July 2022, more than 300 events have received payments totalling $23 million.    

In April 2022, the Event Support Scheme was extended to accept registrations for events scheduled from 15 June through to the end of January 2023.   

Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme     

View the list of events that were covered or registered with the scheme.

Updated on 10th August 2023