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New Zealand History Research Trust


The New Zealand History Research Trust Fund (the History Awards) supports historians, researchers and writers working on non-fiction projects that will significantly enhance our understanding of New Zealand's past.

Every year the fund gives away 8-12 grants of up to $12,000 each to fund research and writing costs. We usually receive around 60-80 applications.

Applications close on 15 October every year, and all applicants will be notified of the outcome by early December.

The History Awards are administered by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. A committee of senior historians from outside the Ministry recommend who will receive the Awards.

Is this the right fund for you?

Any individual or group can apply. We are particularly keen to receive applications for projects dealing with Māori topics.

Traditionally, we have supported projects that produce print publications, such as books. We prefer funding book projects with a wide target readership, rather than academic journal articles.

We also consider digital formats such as web stories and online exhibitions, provided the funding is only for the historical research and writing component, not design and development costs.

If your topic is regional, or about your family, you are welcome to apply, but we need to know how the project would enhance understanding of the nation’s history.

What can you use the funding for?

The funding can be used for any expenses to do with the researching and writing process, such as:

  • Travel costs (national or international) to visit archives and libraries
  • Paying yourself a wage to undertake research or writing
  • Equipment costs such as computers
  • Research costs such as photocopying or purchasing copies of photographs
  • A limited amount of oral history as part of the research for the project (if your project is primarily an oral history project, you should apply to the Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho, New Zealand Oral History Awards).

This isn’t the right fund for everyone. We don’t fund:

  • costs relating to the publication or production of the work (for example book editing, design or printing, publicity costs or website production costs)
  • work that has already been completed (the research/writing work on your project must be ongoing after the closing date for applications)
  • the collection or arrangement of archival material or the preparation of databases
  • fiction, art or drama projects
  • tertiary students, or staff completing a project as part of their university work (unless you are undertaking a private project in your own time)
  • staff members of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

What information do you need to provide?

The application form sets out all the information you need to provide, including a discussion of the significance of the project, a budget, the stage the project has reached, a brief chapter outline, and information about yourself. You are not required to send samples of your work, quotes or letters from referees.

Application forms are now available for download and close on 15 October every year.

Other information

If you have received a History Award before, you can apply for funding for new projects, but not for projects which have previously received a History Award. To be considered for a new project we require that you have completed any previous projects funded by the Trust.

A list of projects that have previously received funding can be found here, and a press release about the 2019 recipients here.

For more information email [email protected]

Where else could you go for funding?

Oral History Awards

If your project is largely an oral history project, apply to the Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho, New Zealand Oral History Awards, also administered by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Creative New Zealand

Creative New Zealand has a wide range of funds, including for publication costs, non-fiction, fiction and drama. It also manages the Michael King Fellowship, which is awarded to an established New Zealand writer from any literary genre to work on a major project.

Lottery Environment and Heritage Fund

Lottery Environment and Heritage Fund grants are available for community group projects that will help protect, conserve or care for our natural, cultural and physical heritage, or allow us to better understand and access these resources.

Judith Binney Trust

The Judith Binney Trust offers an annual fellowship for an established scholar to undertake or complete a significant project in New Zealand history or related fields. It also offers writing awards to emerging writers. 

Stout Fellowship

The JD Stout Fellowship funds opportunities to write within an academic environment at Victoria University of Wellington’s Stout Research Centre. The Centre also offers residencies to independent scholars from the community working on a wide variety of research topics. 

Michael King Writers Centre

The Michael King Writers Centre in Auckland offers around 20 supported writer’s residencies a year to support New Zealand writers and promote the development of high-quality New Zealand writing, including non-fiction.



Updated on 18th May 2020