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Funding for Arts and Culture Projects Brings Eco Design onto Centre Stage

Media release: 8 December 2022

Two projects to create arts and culture hubs which forefront sustainable design have received funding from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF).

The projects, in Christchurch and Hastings, have been funded in Round Seven of the RCHF. Both projects incorporate sustainable principles into their designs, as well as creating improved access to arts, culture and heritage in their regions, with benefits that will stretch throughout Aotearoa.

“These projects will add significant value to the culture of Aotearoa by creating spaces to house our shared histories and create new ones,” said Glenis Philip-Barbara, Pou Mataaho o Te Hua, Deputy Chief Executive, Delivery at Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“We are pleased to see that applicants to the RCHF are embedding sustainability into their projects to ensure an energy efficient future for their building’s occupants.”

The new Court Theatre project in Christchurch will receive up to $3 million to construct its permanent home within the city’s new Arts Precinct. Utilising low carbon design, the purpose-built space will hold a main theatre (seating 375) and a studio theatre (seating 120 to 150). The space will also house several flexible studios, including education and outreach studios, and the Theatre’s production unit where props, sets and costumes will be manufactured. The theatre is an important stop on the national touring circuit for many productions.

Hastings District Council will receive up to $9 million towards a Museums Collection Storage, Archive and Research Centre. The project will convert an existing Hastings building into a fit-for-purpose disaster resilient facility outside of the region’s Tsunami Impact Zones which will house important regional collections, including those of Napier’s MTG (Museum Theatre Gallery). The new facility will include a collection storage wing, offices, workspaces, and an education and exhibition space. Solar panels will also be installed to offset the facility’s operating costs.

“These exciting projects will help to ensure that our arts, culture and heritage sector can thrive with the facilities it needs,” said Glenis Philip-Barbara.

The RCHF is a contestable fund of last resort which assists projects that have the vast majority of funding in place but need assistance with genuine fundraising shortfalls.

The dates for Round Eight of the RCHF will be announced in the first half of 2023.

Since it was established in 2016, 27 projects have been supported by the RCHF, with $50 million invested in projects across the motu.

Background information:

  • The Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) was established in 2016 with a multi-year appropriation (MYA) of $29.527 million. In 2018-19 its MYA was renewed for another four years with an indicative allocation of $6.667 million per annum.
  • In Round Seven:
    • six applications (three theatres and three museums), sought $27.718 million towards projects with a combined estimated value of over $352 million.
    • $12 million was allocated to two projects.
  • Further details about Round 8 of the RCHF will be available later in the New Year.

Decision History

  • Since 2016, over $50 million in funding has been allocated through the RCHF to
    27 projects, including:
    • performing arts venues (11 grants totalling $ 16.968 million)
    • whare taonga (1 grant of $0.300 million)
    • art galleries (4 grants totalling $13.555 million)
    • museums (8 grants totalling $9.173m)
    • mixed purpose art and museum centres (3 grants totalling $ 10.305 million).
  • Projects have been funded throughout Aotearoa, including one project on Rakiura Stewart Island and one on the Chatham Islands. While the RCHF criteria give priority to projects outside the main centres, projects in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch can be granted funds if they demonstrate significant regional benefits.

Updated on 14th December 2022