September 2023 update
Round 8 of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) closed on 30 June 2023.
Subject to the calibre of applications, up to $13 million was available to support construction projects at public performing arts venues, galleries, museums, whare taonga, and heritage properties housing important collections.
The successful Round 8 recipients were announced in a 15 September 2023 Regional culture and heritage fund provides $16.5m for South Island cultural institutions media release.
Keeping up to date
Interested parties can ask to be registered on the RCHF alerts database by emailing us at [email protected]. Please include a phone number and a brief description of your project.
Overview of the RCHF
RCHF is a contestable fund of last resort. Its purpose is to assist communities to meet genuine fundraising shortfalls for a range of capital construction projects at public: performing arts venues; museums; galleries; iwi museums/whare taonga; and/or heritage buildings housing significant collections.
RCHF grant rounds are usually held once per year but the timing and frequency of rounds can vary.
Level of funding available
The RCHF has limited resources which vary annually so it is always focussed towards genuine shortfalls that are typically no more than the last third of a qualifying project’s cost. Strong applications demonstrate the efforts already made to fund a Project in its entirety from within communities and sources like Lotteries and philanthropy before applying to the RCHF. Most rounds are oversubscribed so projects should not be developed on the assumption that RCHF funding can and will be made available.
Examples of projects that may be considered
Projects might be for new buildings or extensions for growing entities; involve seismic strengthening or modernisation of existing buildings and their plant; involve energy and resource efficiency projects as part of a sustainability upgrade; to improve health, safety, and security while also improving accessibility. Strong applications will be for well-documented construction-ready projects which best meet the fund’s purpose and criteria.
Who can apply?
While open to applicants from throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, the RCHF’s primary focus is to support capital projects outside the main centres of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Projects in those major centres will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Some entities and activities are excluded under this Fund’s criteria. We recommend all intending applicants discuss their eligibility first before committing to the expense of preparing an application.
How to apply
Before submitting an application, all potential applicants should read the RCHF Policy Criteria and Checklist then contact the RCHF officials by phone: (04) 496 6175 or email [email protected] and discuss their project.
The RCHF requires applicants to provide independently authored Feasibility Studies for any capital projects with a total project cost of $0.250 million or more.
Can I apply outside of a grant round?
No. Grant rounds enable government to compare and contrast the range of project(s) which have reached their critical mass within their communities but still have genuine fundraising shortfall(s).
Do you have an application form?
The RCHF uses an Application Agreement and Coversheet instead of a funding application form. This approach provides applicants greater flexibility to promote their projects in their best way. Refer to the checklist for the types of project documentation to provide.
You can find more FAQs here: RCHF Frequently Asked Questions FAQ
Help for projects outside the scope of the RCHF
Sources for Feasibility Study funding
Most capital funding sources will require applicants to provide a robust independently authored Feasibility Study with their application. Your Council, Regional Tourism entity, and/ or Business Round Table may be able to assist with funding and/or expertise. Lottery Environment and Heritage may consider applications seeking a contribution towards costs to develop feasibility studies for community projects.
Te Papa’s outreach service team, National Services Te Paerangi (NSTP), has free 'how-to guides' designed with museums, galleries and iwi groups in mind including a fundraising guide. National Services Te Paerangi guides.
Examples of community sources of capital project funding
The following are some of our suggestions for you to investigate for any potential funding in addition to contacting your council and local philanthropists.
Generosity New Zealand provides online search tools which offer access to nearly $4 billion of funds. A relevant website product is givUS which lists more than 1,200 grants and schemes for communities, volunteer organisations, schools, groups, sport clubs and Iwi. You can freely access its database at most council operated public libraries.
Lottery Grants Board has a broad range of funds to support community services and projects. Visit Communitymatters.govt.nz
You can find lists of community trusts here:
In addition to enquiring about any grants funds administered by local law firms you may find it useful to familiarise yourself with these two potential sources:
Government sources of funding
As the RCHF is a fund of last resort, we recommend that you take the time to familiarise yourself with the current funds and support provided by other government departments and agencies:
Te Puni Kōkiri
Te Papa National Services Te Paerangi (NSTP) provides Helping Hand grants to museums.
Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
MBIE administers funds relating to tourism and regional growth. We recommend visiting the MBIE website and their regional website Grow Regions which is the home website for Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (Kānoa – REDIU).
Heritage New Zealand
Private owners of earthquake-prone Heritage NZ listed buildings are encouraged to contact their nearest Heritage New Zealand office to receive fundraising advice and helpful duty of care guidance.
Department of Conservation
DOC has a very helpful funding sources page which may be of interest to rural communities and parties with heritage properties on or near DOC estates.
The Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme
Find out more about the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme here.
Creative New Zealand administers funding for art creation projects.
RCHF Policy, Criteria and Checklist
RCHF Policy, Criteria and Checklist (5 May 2016) (D-0659514).PDF
Regional Culture and Heritage Fund FAQ Sheet
Regional Culture and Heritage Fund FAQ Sheet 31 Jan 2017 (D-0701093).PDF
RCHF Applicant agreement and coversheet form
RCHF Applicant Agreement and Coversheet March 2019 (D-0840341).PDF
Updated on 15th September 2023