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Four Regional Culture and Heritage Fund grants announced today

Media release: 13 August 2019

The Rotorua Museum, Motutī Marae Trust’s Raiātea Whare Taonga Resource and Archive Centre, Upper Hutt’s Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre, and the Loons Club Performing Arts Venue in Lyttelton are receiving grants from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund, Bernadette Cavanagh, Chief Executive Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage said today.

The grants totalling $7.6 million from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) were announced by the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern during an event at Rotorua Museum today.

In addition to the $5 million grant from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund, Rotorua Museum received $15 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.

“This combined $20 million government contribution, alongside funding raised by the Rotorua community, will be used to assist the redevelopment and earthquake strengthening of this iconic museum which has been closed due to damage sustained in the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake,” Bernadette Cavanagh said.

“The RCHF investment will go towards improving the care of and access to the museum’s collections which are of regional and national importance.

The Motutī Marae Trust’s Raiātea Whare Taonga Resource and Archive Centre in Hokianga, Northland will receive funding of up to $300,000.  This will help complete the two-level whare taonga building on Motutī Marae, which will be used as a research centre, collection storage and archive. The whare taonga will house taonga of great importance to local hapū and iwi, and wider Māori communities. 

“Up to $1,345,164 has been awarded to the Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre redevelopment project in Upper Hutt.  The funding will be used to provide new storage and gallery space, education and public programmes space, a commercial kitchen and full disabled access.

“A grant of up to $981,000 goes to the Loons Club Performing Arts Venue Project in Lyttelton towards the final fitout of the performing arts venue replacing the one taken down after the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. The funding includes the installation of professional theatre sound and lighting systems and an assisted hearing system for the hard of hearing.

“Since its inception, the RCHF has contributed grants totalling some $32 million to 16 projects throughout the country,” Bernadette Cavanagh said.

Background Information

The Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) is an annual contestable fund of last resort which enables Government to assist regional communities with fundraising shortfalls for their capital projects at public arts, culture and heritage collecting institutions (museums and art galleries), exhibition venues, whare taonga, and performing arts venues. 

The RCHF prioritises projects outside the main centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. 

Projects can include the renovation, restoration, adding to or construction of new buildings where arts, culture and heritage activities take place.

Detail about the fund, including how to apply and a map showing the location of previous recipients, is available on the Manatū Taonga website at:

Previous RCHF grant recipients include, the Nelson School of Music ($1.5 million); the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui ($10 million); the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings ($4 million); the Rakiura Heritage Centre on Stewart Island ($1.088 million); and Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom in Foxton ($1.026 million). 


Updated on 14th August 2019