Arts and cultural festivals get funding boost

  • Hon Stuart Nash

One of New Zealand’s oldest cultural festivals and a brand new youth festival are amongst four events to win grants to help them grow, attract new audiences, and boost local economies.

Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash has announced new support from an incubator fund launched last year to provide seed and development backing for creative and cultural events.

“Festivals in Auckland, Rotorua, Porirua and Christchurch have secured new investment to help them grow and broaden their reach to new audiences, so they can eventually be self-sustaining,” Mr Nash said.

They are:

“We have world-class talent and unique cultural stories to share and celebrate. As planning continues for ways to phase the reopening of our borders, our creative sector and events industries are also thinking about how to plan and market their festivals to future international audiences.

“The government support from the Creative and Cultural Events Incubator helps the festivals to amplify New Zealand’s reputation as a place that is safe to visit, and which celebrates its diverse and unique cultures. Our ability to stage large public events and hold mass gatherings is the envy of many.

“For home-grown audiences, jobs and businesses, the festivals stimulate local economies and domestic tourism and keep up the momentum of recovery, especially in the regions.

“The Incubator Fund is an offshoot of the Major Events Fund, which is supporting other significant international attractions like the women’s rugby, cricket and football world cups.

Organisers can apply for a maximum of $100,000 per year for up to three years.

“I congratulate this round’s funding recipients. These arts and cultural events have big plans to develop into financially self-sustaining events in their home cities. This new investment will help to nurture their potential to become major events of international significance for Aotearoa New Zealand,” Mr Nash said.


Pasifika Festival – Auckland

The Pasifika Festival has been running since 1993 and is a two-day cultural event based in Auckland. It is a celebration of traditional and contemporary Pacific cultures through a village concept showcasing performances, food, craft, arts and storytelling. It is the largest Pasifika festival of its type in New Zealand. The event is organised by a local government controlled organisation Auckland Unlimited in partnership with the Pasifika Festival Village Coordinators Trust representatives.

The funding of up to $100,000 per year will help to develop an international growth strategy (development and implementation) and the development of a stronger governance framework, alongside other standard attendance and engagement performance measures.

ARONUI Indigenous Arts Festival – Rotorua

Rotorua-based ARONUI is a multi-disciplinary indigenous arts festival run over three weeks in September, and is now in its third year. The festival is organised by the newly established ARONUI Arts Festival Charitable Trust, and iwi leaders Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa alongside world-class award-winning artists.

The funding of up to $100,000 per year will help to develop the event’s international growth strategy and marketing strategy alongside other standard attendance and engagement performance measures.

Arts Festival for Young People – Porirua

A new biennial Arts festival for young people is coming to Porirua, a city with one of the largest populations of young people in New Zealand. It will feature workshops, development programmes and presentations that strengthen the voice and speak to the passions of young people in Aotearoa. The event is being developed by and will run alongside the New Zealand Festival of the Arts which has had a long relationship with Porirua over its 35-year history. This new festival for young people will be managed by a dedicated team led by Porirua-born Samoan New Zealander Sasha Gibb who is a senior producer at the NZ Festival of Arts.

The seed investment funding of up to $100,000 per year will help to support domestic growth and a marketing strategy alongside other standard attendance and engagement performance measures.

Tīrama Mai – Christchurch

Christchurch based Tīrama Mai is in its first official year but is an evolution of the Botanic D’Lights light festival established in 2015. It is now pivoting to celebrate Matariki through light and performance, proposed for two weeks and three weekends in mid-winter annually. Tīrama Mai is organised and delivered by Christchurch City Council and has strong involvement of mana whenua (Ngai Tūāhuriri).

The funding of up to $50,000 per year will help to develop the event’s marketing strategy alongside other standard attendance and engagement performance measures.

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