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Government support for cultural sector, creatives and festivals

Media release: 7 February 2023

Two new initiatives have been approved by Cabinet to help ensure the cultural sector has the certainty and support to thrive, announced Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage today.

$10 million of COVID-19 recovery funding is going to support established arts, cultural and diversity festivals, while $12 million will help meet increased funding demand being experienced by Creative New Zealand.

“As we kickstart 2023, we’re providing further support to the arts, culture and heritage sector, which brings joy to thousands of kiwis, and continues to be an engine of growth for the New Zealand economy,” says Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae, Manatū Taonga Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive.

“Cabinet has approved these two initiatives to help alleviate some of the uncertainty and stress that the cultural sector has acutely experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic and cost-of-living spike. Although these plans were underway before the flooding in Auckland last week, I hope this news will be welcomed by the city’s creative community.

“The extra support for creatives will be administered by Creative New Zealand with the aim of alleviating some of the pressures on over-subscribed funding rounds Creative New Zealand has been facing. Funding will be rapidly delivered to the sector starting later this month.

“We’re also announcing funding to enable Creative New Zealand to support established festivals. While many festivals have survived the pandemic, we know the long tail of COVID-19 has resulted in wide-spread cancellations and postponements. The new funding will give confidence to festival organisers to plan and host festivals in 2023,” says Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae.

The new initiatives will be the final additions to the range of funds that have come from the $495 million Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme, which was established to support the recovery of the arts, culture and heritage sectors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for Aotearoa, which hit the cultural sector particularly hard,” says Joe Fowler, Pou Mataaho o Te Aka Tūhono Deputy Chief Executive, Investment and Outcomes.

“The new arts, cultural and diversity festivals funding will continue to support the live events community as the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme (ACESS) comes to a close. It is fitting that ACESS funding set aside to underwrite many, many hundreds of arts and culture events throughout the last year is now enabling us to support the resurgence of festivals.

"The Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme paid out more than $30 million to events affected by COVID-19, giving event organisers the confidence to plan and deliver some incredible events, and ensuring that thousands of artists, subcontractors, and crew got paid if their events were disrupted by COVID-19.

“We’re now focused in Manatū Taonga on completing the final rounds of the Cultural Sector Regeneration Fund, investing in projects that will have a lasting benefit for the arts, culture and heritage sector. I am excited to see what initiatives will be successful in our remaining two rounds of funding,” says Joe Fowler.

Editor’s notes:

  • Additional support for festivals: $10 million to support established festivals that celebrate the life experiences, stories, cultures and regional identities of New Zealanders, and that continue to be impacted by the effects of COVID-19 in 2023.
  • Additional support for artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations: $12 million to support artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations, including through Grants programmes or other existing programmes that help the arts, culture and heritage sector adapt and thrive in a post-COVID-19 environment.
  • Funding for both initiatives comes from existing funding from the Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme and will be administered by Creative New Zealand to enable the continued recovery of the arts, culture and heritage sector from the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

Updated on 7th February 2023