Background to the project: COVID-19 has seen unprecedented challenges for Aotearoa New Zealand. The cultural sector has been hit particularly hard. As part of the COVID-19 Recovery Budget in May 2020, the Government announced a landmark investment of $374m over four years to help ensure the sector not only survives – it adapts and thrives. 

The media and broadcasting sectors were also significantly impacted by Covid-19 and in response, the Government made $50m available from May 2020, as well as initiating medium and longer-term support.

Although the arts and culture ecosystem bring New Zealand to life, the impacts of COVID-19 have amplified the fragility of the sector and its poor infrastructure. Without the necessary support the Arts and Cultural sector will struggle to react to the longer-term implications of COVID-19.

The Arts play an important role in connecting whānau and communities and positively impacts New Zealander's wellbeing. It's vital that the sector not only survives COVID-19 challenges, but adapts to thrive in the changing nature we consume Arts and Culture. - Jeff Gibson

The case:

Manatu Taonga (the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, referred to as MCH) was given the responsibility for designing and delivering a suite of both short-term relief, and longer-term support initiatives, working in partnership with sector agencies.

The Arts, Culture and Heritage Covid Programme (ACH) was established in May 2020. The Programme outcomes focus on economic recovery, vibrant innovative sectors and having better access and participation. A Media and Broadcasting Programme was established in April 2020 including a variety of support packages and initiatives. 

From a standing start, Jeff Gibson and Liz Stewart of Tregaskis Brown established the initial programme. This included the programme(s) workstreams and governance processes, securing resourcing, creating the environment for teams to be successful and ultimately ensuring the right outcomes were achieved.

Along with MCH operational teams, the programme also undertook rapid consultation with the various sector agencies and participants to design and develop the initiatives, to be approved by Ministers

Following this phase of work, Tregaskis Brown personnel were then involved in detailed design work, delivery of funding support, establishing a new contestable funds management function (including people, processes and technology) for MCH and, engaging with sector agencies to agree delivery, monitoring and evaluation models.

To July 2021, $129 million was delivered across various Arts, Culture & Heritage sectors as well as around $50 million to support the Media & Broadcasting sectors. The programmes have now been closed and transitioned to BAU for ongoing delivery, monitoring and evaluation.


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Staff involved

Jeff Gibson


Liz Stewart


The outcomes:

Five funding initiatives are included within the Covid Recovery Programme, and 36 recipients were recently announced to round two of the Nga wahi Auaha Creative Spaces initiative. This initiative provides funding to creative spaces to expand their services beyond their current client base. Creative spaces are critical to communities as they provide access to art-making activities and creative expression for people who experience barriers to participation. Read more about this here

Other initiatives include:

  • Pasifika Festivals - Ngā Puninga Toi ā-Ahurea me ngā Kaupapa, Cultural Installations and Events. This initiative provides $12 million of funding over three years to Pasifika festivals.
  • Cultural Installations and Events. A total of 73 round one funding recipients across the country have been announced. Local to Tregaskis Brown, a public performance in Wellington featuring Māori musicians, waiate Māori and te reo Māori to celebreate the launch of the inaugural Waiata Anthems Week.

Tregaskis Brown is proud to has been a part of setting up the means for communities to get the support that they need.