It was perhaps the leading catch-cry of the sector in 2022 - Creative New Zealand (CNZ) doesn’t have enough money to support those who need it.
One of the first big funding announcements of 2023 has taken that directly onboard - with CNZ getting a $22 million cash injection intended to go straight into the pockets of creative organisations and individuals.
Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH) has today announced that $12m will help meet increased funding pressure being experienced by CNZ. While the details of how the extra money will be distributed are yet to be confirmed, CNZ has underlined it will go toward additional support for artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations, including to top-up upcoming Arts Grants rounds.
A further $10m is going to support established arts, cultural and diversity festivals.
The new initiatives will be the final additions to the range of funds that have come from the $495m Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme. MCH has confirmed to The Big Idea that the remaining $17m up for grabs in the Cultural Regeneration Fund will be unaffected by this announcement.
MCH Chief Executive Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae states "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 CNZ with the aim of alleviating some of the pressures on oversubscribed funding rounds CNZ has been facing. Funding will be rapidly delivered to the sector starting later this month.”
The news is music to the ears of under-pressure CNZ officials after a tumultuous 2022, where every funding round from the four year Toi Uru Kahikatea clients to Annual Arts Grants and the short burst funding arts grants were under overwhelming pressure.
Record numbers of applicants - and subsequently more unsuccessful ones - put the organisation in the firing line of many heated discussions.
Chair of the Arts Council Caren Rangi says “we’re incredibly grateful to the Government for reprioritising this funding to CNZ. It will be an enormous help to the arts sector who continue to feel the ramifications of COVID.
“The benefits of this extra money will extend so much further than to the artists and festivals who receive this funding,” Rangi continues. “The creative sector is crucially important to the economy and has a profound effect on the wider wellbeing of our communities. Arts events like festivals bring our towns and cities to life. They give us all an opportunity to come together, connect and be inspired.”
CNZ Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright explains “we know that the COVID emergency funding made available to the arts sector helped it to survive, but we also know that more support is needed to help the sector to thrive.
“This money will make a tangible difference to many in the arts community, and we’re pleased the Government has heard the call from the sector and ourselves to help alleviate some of the current pressures.
“With the recent flooding in Tāmaki, Northland and beyond, this funding boost comes at a critical time for those arts communities in particular.”
In a statement, CNZ has stated that after the recent “unprecedented demand for funding from the arts sector, the organisation is considering how best to channel the additional Government investment, to help relieve some of the pressure the arts community is experiencing over the coming year.”
The additional $10m is described as supporting “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.”
When explaining the Festival support - again to be administered by CNZ - Leauanae says "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."
Joe Fowler, MCH Deputy Chief Executive adds "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.
"ACESS paid out more than $30m 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."