Eligible projects and applicants

What is a project?

The term ‘project’ refers to a self-contained activity that is time-bound with an identifiable start and finish date. This might be short-term (e.g. a one-off weekend workshop) or long-term (e.g. a programme of exhibitions over an 8 month period). The programme or project, however, must be completed within 12 months of being funded and deliver to one of the three funding criteria – access and participation, diversity or young people

Are repeat projects eligible?

You are likely to have applications that come to you for the same project year after year. Sometimes these are very strong projects and produce great arts outcomes. But sometimes they lack a little in growth or innovation and there can be a sense of expectation from the applicants and a sense of obligation by the assessment committee to fund these as a result of this expectation.

Whether or not these projects are seen as a priority for support is at your assessment committee’s discretion. The committee needs to look at the criteria relevant to the application i.e. access and participation, diversity or young people, and compare the application with other projects under the same criteria. Is it a strong project? Are they able to source funds from elsewhere? Is the project developing or growing?

Sometimes an assessment committee chooses to send a clear message to applicants about the types of projects they will prioritise. It can be useful for assessment committees to discuss this issue before a funding round opens so that the priority areas can be conveyed to applicants before they draft their next application. This helps the decision making process remain transparent.

For example: In Rangitikei the assessment committee met to discuss the types of projects they wanted to prioritise in their area. After looking at what they felt made a particularly strong CCS project they decided they wanted to encourage applications for projects which:

  • demonstrated growth
  • demonstrated quality and excellence
  • promoted partnership and inclusion

They identified these priorities clearly on the front of the application form under Local Funding Priorities. By doing this they have given repeat applicants a clear steer about how they will prioritise applications. These priority areas still fit within the broader CCS criteria and the scheme’s intentions. The committee has also clearly identified for themselves what they will prioritise which can make for a more strategic conversation at the meeting when looking at repeat projects versus new projects.

Can groups from outside our area apply for support?

You may receive applications from groups that are offering workshops or performances nationally, eg Connected Media, Toro Pikopiko Puppets. Applicants do not have to be based in your district or city however groups/organisations do have to be New Zealand-based and individuals do have to be New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

These visiting groups can sometimes offer your community important skills or new experiences that might not otherwise be available, however they can also sometimes be well written applications that may not be well matched to your community.

Here are some questions that your assessment committee may like to consider:

  1. Previous results in your district: Has this group received funding previously and what were the results? Were these stronger or weaker than anticipated? If the results of previous projects were weaker than anticipated has the group explained how they will improve the project? It can be useful to have the project completion report from previous projects available for your assessment committee to refer to.
  2. Previous results in other districts: If the project is new to your district have they been funded via CCS previously in another district (they should have noted this on their application form). Have they included evidence of the success of the project from other districts? You could consider ringing the local CCS administrator from that district for some feedback.
  3. Community connection: Have any local partnerships/arrangements (eg with other groups, schools or venues) been confirmed? If not, does your committee consider that there may be any issues with this?
  4. Good project or just a good application? Groups who are very familiar with putting together funding applications are sometimes at an advantage over first time or occasional applicants. Your committee will need to look closely at the project and allocate the funding on the project’s outcomes or merits – not just on the basis of whether the application is well written or not.
  5. Expertise: Does this group bring in expertise or high quality work that does not otherwise exist in your area? How widely will this expertise or work be experienced by the community?
  6. Engaging young people: If the group is working with young people have they been clear about how they will reach these young people and is there appropriate support in place?

As the administrator you may need to request additional information to support your committee in their decision making.

Remember, if key information is missing, a committee can choose to fund the project but make the release of the funds dependent upon the applicant supplying additional information for approval eg confirmation with schools.

What constitutes a ‘council project’

Council projects are not eligible for funding from CCS. This is because CCS is a devolved funding programme delivered in partnership with each local authority.  It would be a conflict of interest for a local authority to fund its own project via CCS.

The following is an updated definition of ‘council projects’ to provide greater clarity.

Local council projects are not eligible for support via the Creative Communities Scheme. A local council project is any project which is developed and run by a council or a subsidiary of a local council. These subsidiaries include council controlled organisations (CCOs), libraries, art galleries, museums, performing arts venues, economic development agencies and/or bodies that are 50% or more controlled by a council or group of councils.

This criteria does not prevent a local arts group from applying for a CCS grant for a project that will use facilities owned and/or operated by a territorial authority (or its subsidiary), however any such application may only be for direct project costs of the applicant.

These include:

  • materials for arts activities or programmes

  • venue and equipment hire (including council owned or council controlled venues)

  • personnel and administrative costs for short-term projects

  • promotion and publicity of arts activities.


This criteria does not prevent a council or council subsidiary from applying to Creative New Zealand for funding via our other funding programmes or initiatives.

Can the Creative Communities Scheme support projects that take place in council-run museums and art galleries?

The scheme cannot support council projects, so if museum or gallery is run by the coucil or is a council subsidiary (see above) the project is part of the core programme of the council facility then it is unlikely to be eligible. However, if an independent artist or group is running a project at a council-run facility, and making an application for support, then this may be eligible provided other eligibility requirements are met.

Can the Creative Communities Scheme support museum projects?

Yes, if the project is primarily focused on an arts activity. Examples include a visual arts exhibition, an exhibition of arts objects or a holiday programme of creative writing and local story-telling. Displays focused on local history with only a limited arts component, e.g. historical photographs, are not eligible. Note that CCS cannot fund work that is intended to become part of the museum or art gallery’s collection.

Can CCS fund projects that are ‘core business’?

CCS cannot support projects that are considered ‘core business’ of:

  • schools

  • other government funded educational institutions

  • organisations who have their core business funded by central or local government

The reason why CCS can’t fund the core business of the above institutions is that either

  • they are all already funded by central government (so this would be considered ‘double dipping’)

  • they are a council project (see above)

CCS can fund professional arts activity and arts businesses even if this is the ‘core business’ of that individual or business. An example might be a dance school putting on an end of year production with their students. It would be appropriate for them to apply for costs associated with the production (administrative and artistic fees, promotion, venue hire, materials, production costs) however we would expect to see all the estimated income from the project (e.g. a portion of the student fees and/or ticket sales in this instance) included in the budget.

Note that we want artists to be able to earn income from their arts practice wherever possible.

Please remember:  CCS can only support costs that are associated with the delivery of a specific project. This might include the portion of administration costs that relates directly to that project, during the period of the project.

What types of literature projects can be funded?

CCS can fund

  • Fiction (e.g.  novels, novellas, short stories, poetry, children’s fiction, young adult fiction, graphic novels, illustrated picture books, and speculative fiction such as fantasy fiction, science fiction, detective fiction, and historical fiction.
  • Non-fiction autobiography, biography, essays, social commentary, literary criticism, reviews, analytical prose, non-fiction written for children, young adult non-fiction, and writing about the physical and natural sciences
  • Researching, writing, publishing and distribution of books by individuals and groups
  • Workshops and professional development that take place in your district

CCS cannot fund

  • newsletters or free hand-outs
  • scripts for television or radio
  • educational materials (for example, school textbooks)
  • instruction manuals, guide books, phrase books, do-it-yourself and how-to books (including travel guides, gardening books, and recipe books), bibliographies, dictionaries, encyclopedias and professional reference works, hymn books and publisher catalogues.

What about local histories?

Local history projects are eligible but may not deliver strongly to any of the three CCS funding criteria. However there is funding available for historical research and oral histories via the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. More detail can be found here.

Are design projects able to be supported via the Creative Communities Scheme?

The scheme can support 2D design projects focused on typography, poster design, graphic design and publication design (these fit within our visual arts category) and 3D design projects such as furniture and object-based design projects (these fit within the craft/object art category). Artists can apply for funding to develop and/or make new work and for the public presentation of the work, but not for the commercial manufacture or production of a work. 

What film projects can be funded?

Film festivals are not eligible for support however projects which involve artists or groups creating films are eligible. Film includes animation, dance film, documentary film, experimental film, feature film, short film, and moving-image art projects and sits under the ‘multi-disciplinary’ artform category. You can read more detail about artform categories in the Administrators (and Assessors) Guide glossary.