News | 27 April 2016

Expansion of oversubscribed arts fund proposed

A significant expansion of Wellington City Council funding for arts and culture has been proposed by today’s meeting of the Council’s Economic Growth and Arts Committee.

The committee today agreed to allocate about $400,000 in funding to 26 organisations and events with most - $330,000 - allocated to:

  • Newtown Festival
  • Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society
  • Taki Rua Productions
  • Fringe Festival
  • Young and Hungry Arts Trust
  • New Zealand Portrait Gallery.

A further $69,000 has been allocated to another 20 organisations and initiatives for one-off projects (see tables). 

Most committee members agreed the Council’s Arts and Culture Fund is seriously oversubscribed and that an increase in the size of the fund should be considered as part of the 2016-17 Annual Plan deliberations.

The decisions followed submissions by a number of delegations to today’s committee meeting – most argued that the recommended funding allocations fell short of what was needed.

Some $870,000 in funding was collectively sought by almost 60 organisations for both project and annual funding.

"Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the Arts and Culture Fund is heavily oversubscribed. She successfully moved that the Council consider an increase in the fund as part of the Annual Plan deliberations. “All of the organisations that applied to us make hugely important contributions to Wellington’s Creative Capital status.

These groups not only make the city compellingly attractive to Wellingtonians but they also enhance the Capital’s reputation both nationally and internationally.

She says the Council has steadily increased funding for the arts and creative sector in general – with a significant funding increase for the New Zealand Festival in the 2015 Long-term Plan an example. “But it’s important to review the level of funding for the groups that were the subject of today’s decisions.”

Committee Chair Councillor Jo Coughlan says all of the organisations that have secured three-year funding arrangements make critical contributions that provide opportunities for the city’s arts communities. “These organisations are critical to Wellington. They are considered a feature of Wellington’s unique sense of place.” 

It is a real priority for this Council to put more focus on this funding – and to strengthen our Creative Capital status. We need to work hard to protect that status and to look at the prioritisation of these applications.”

And the Council’s Arts Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, says the grants acknowledge the Council’s essential role in keeping arts, music and literature vibrant in the Capital. “This is money well-spent – it’s about keeping the city’s creative infrastructure healthy and thriving.”

Cr Ahipene-Mercer says he is disappointed that the Council can’t provide more arts and culture funding. “This fund is massively oversubscribed – and personally I think the Council should be increasing the size of this fund by $1 million or $2 million.”

Arts and Culture Funding - three-year funding (from 1 July 2016)


Granted - per year

Young and Hungry Arts Trust
Support for annual youth theatre festival
Creative Capital Arts Trust
Support for annual NZ Fringe Festival
Taki Rua Productions Society Inc
Providing leadership for Māori theatre, supporting local theatre practitioners and groups
Katherine Mansfield Birthplace Society
Support for the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace
The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Trust
Operational support for the waterfront National Portrait Gallery $20,000
Newtown Residents Association Inc
Support for the annual Newtown Festival with additional support through community events  $63,240
Total $333,240

Arts and Culture Fund, March 2016 Funding round

Binge Culture Collective Limited
Stranger in Town - theatrical work
Enjoy Public Art Gallery
Support for visual arts gallery
KidzStuff Theatre Inc
KidzStuff Season 2016
Latin American Film Festival (Embassy of Argentina)
The 2016 Latin American & Spain Film Festival
Making Friends Collective
Stand Up Love / Wine Lips
New Zealand Film Festival Trust
New Zealand International Film Festival, Wellington (NZIFF)
New Zealand Polish Film Festival Trust
Wellington Polish Film Festival
New Zealand School of Dance
Tu Move youth dance project
Pablos Art Studios Incorporated
Funding for the ROAR! gallery (Pablos Art Studios art gallery)
Show Me Shorts Film Festival Trust Board
The 11th Annual Show Me Shorts Film Festival
St Andrew's on The Terrace
Series of lunchtime concerts
Te Koki - New Zealand School of Music
New Zealand School of Music Orchestra and Wellington Youth Orchestra combined concert
The Community Performing Arts Trust
Let's Make Work Together - Development Season
The Glamaphones
The Glamaphones Concert Series - celebrating 30 years of Homosexual Law Reform
The Miramar and Maupuia Community Trust Inc
Matariki event at the Miramar and Maupuia Community Centre
The Playground New Zealand Ltd
The Performance Arcade 2017
The Wellington Treasure Trust
Delivery of the third LitCrawl event for Wellington
Voice Arts Trust
Support for the work of Voice Arts Trust
Wellington Elim International Church
Tennyson Street Fair
Wellington Filipino Sports Organization Inc.
Philippine Festival in Wellington 2016 (Pistang Pilipino 2016 sa Wellington)

Stand Up Love / Wine Lips
Stand Up Love / Wine Lips