We grant funds to support creative projects and organisations that aim to foster access to, engagement with and experience in the arts.

Our Community Stories give an insight into our own grant-making decisions.  These stories show the people from our community that benefit from funding.  

If you have a great story to tell or want to know more contact our communications coordinator


Arts on Tour

Bringing up-and-coming artists to the rural community

Arts On Tour plays at 60 venues around the country, from 40- 400 seat theatres. This year 40 artists applied for just 10 performance spots. “There is so much talent in New Zealand,” states Steve Thomas, who for 35 years, has been ensuring performing artists are seen in the regions.

The tour focuses its programme on rural and remote communities, providing opportunities for these communities to access quality performances. Up-and-coming touring artists tour New Zealand visiting towns including Roxburgh, Alexandra, Wanaka, Queenstown, Tarras, Bannockburn, Cromwell and Lake Hawea.

An AOTNZ performer says, “I used to turn up in towns thinking I was the most important thing happening that night. I came to realise I was just a focal point for something much more important – the chance for a community to gather.”

Ticket sales provide about 40% of revenue, the remainder is supported by Creative NZ, charitable and community trusts.

A documentary of this year’s tour of Central Lakes towns is being filmed


Central Otago Regional Choir

"May I, on behalf of the Central Otago Regional Choir, offer you and the Trust our most grateful appreciation for your recent Grant payment under our current Guarantee Against Loss.

The financial reassurance which your Grants have provided the Choir over many years has been a very significant factor in its on-going public performance programme."

- Gavin D M Jack, Treasurer, Central Otago Regional Choir Inc


LUMA Light Festival

Free family friendly festival attracts 35,000 locals

LUMA is an award-winning arts and culture festival based in Queenstown. Transforming Queenstown’s famous Botanic Gardens and lakefront into a dazzling display of glowing art, it uses Queenstown’s unique alpine canvas, as a giant amphitheater for local, national and international talent to paint with light.

This free, family friendly event illuminated with art and sculpture, attracts a large number of visitors; and appeals to a wide-ranging audience; 35,000 locals from throughout our region, and a total of 40,000 – 50,000 visitors. Up until last year the event was entirely volunteer based.

The festival aims to educate our community in the arts and encourage awareness of the physical and cultural heritage of the region. The festival this year offered a dedicated school’s area for primary school exhibitions, and a spot with the main artists for the high school to create an installation. With a dedicated Schools Programme Coordinator and the opportunity to showcase work on such a high profile stage, LUMA provides a fantastic opportunity for students to gain confidence in the arts, and a pathway into the Arts and Culture sector.

"Many thanks indeed. That is the best news we have had in quite some time - amazing - just amazing.

Thank you for showing us this level of faith in what we are doing - it means a lot to us."

- Duncan Forsyth, Chair, LUMA Light Festival Trust