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Creative spaces respond to COVID-19

Creative spaces throughout the country have closed the doors to their premises but staff, artists and volunteers are find innovative ways to support each other beyond the physical space. This page includes some of these ideas and activities: we would love you to let us know about your activities. There are also ways that the Government, Arts Access Aotearoa and other organisations can support you. 

What creative spaces around the country are doing

In Level Two, creative spaces with ample space are re-opening, albeit on limited hours and or with limited numbers attending at any one time.  Other organisations are waiting to re-open when the alert levels are reduced.  If you would like advice or to talk directly with the leader of another creative space with a similar population to the one you manage, please get in touch with Kate or check out our Creative Spaces Directory for contact details

Among the innovative ideas and activities, creative spaces are:

  • creating online workshops especially for their client group and posting to YouTube, Facebook and/or websites
  • creating closed Facebook groups where artists and staff can post private updates of their artwork/video sessions and send messages of support/inspiration
  • providing one-to-one or group sessions online via Zoom
  • supporting families and support workers with similar or separate content via these online platforms
  • supplying artists with packs of equipment and materials,
  • providnign printout instructions or templates
  • loaning creative space library books
  • keeping in touch by phone and email, at regular intervals
  • offering private chat lines for specific general discussion and sharing online

Arts Access Aotearoa support

  • Auckland Community Arts Engagement Advisor Gary Silipa is available to assist any creative spaces with questions, advice and issues related to your IT (Information Technology) set-up: for example, setting up online meetings and classes; helping with your business continuity plan (working remotely). Email Gary 
  • Links supporting the Deaf and disabled communities
  • CreativeSpacesNZ Facebook page is a closed page to share share news and ideas with your colleagues: please join, if you haven’t already joined, and contribute your posts and comments.

Mental Health Support Line

For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can call or text the 'Need to talk?' service on 1737. This service is free, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and gives you the chance to talk it through with a trained counsellor. 

MusicHelps Wellbeing Service

MusicHelps Wellbeing Service has opened its resources to the whole of the New Zealand arts community, offering counselling support from counsellors who understand the challenges arts practitioners and facilitators are facing right now. Call its support line 0508MUSICHELPS or visit its website for more contact information.

Learning Disability Support Line

People First NZ, IHC, and the Personal Advocacy and Safeguarding Adults Trust  are working together to respond to people with learning disabilities’ concerns through C-19. People First NZ COVID-19 Helpline 0800 20 60 70  - messages will be responded to several times a day  

Funding options


MSD Emergency Response Funding

The Community Capability and Resilience Fund (CCRF) is a fund available to community groups for initiatives that support the rebuild and recovery from COVID-19. The $36 million fund is available from 1 August 2020 to support communities over the next two years. For more information and to download a fact sheet

Lottery Community Wellbeing Fund

A new $40 million lottery fund has been established to focus on community and social initiatives in the wake of COVID-19.  This fund will open by October 2020. The fund is currently under development and this website will be updated with further information when it becomes available. For more information 

Creative New Zealand Emergency Response Package

This package is specifically targeted at artists and arts organisations with four rounds open in 2020 and in 2021. For up to date information on closing dates and criteria.

Mental Health Foundation Like Minds, Like Mine Pūtea Hapori/Community Grant

How to apply for a Like Minds, Like Mine Pūtea Hapori/Community Grant  watch this video

Other  Emergency Response funders

See Exult website for more regional support

Arts Foundation funding initiatives support artists’ careers

The Arts Foundation has three funding initiatives: Boosted LIVEThe Arts Foundation Future Fund and the Springboard programme. . These initiatives provide opportunities for artists at a time when New Zealand’s creative sector needs urgent help, and New Zealanders need access to arts and culture more than ever. Boosted LIVE gives artists the opportunity to live stream their arts projects, and receive donations supporting them. The Arts Foundation Future Fund is a new initiative with the Foundation’s arts crowdfunding platform, Boosted. Projects that raise at least $1000 will be given a $1000 koha from the Future Fund. The inaugural Springboard programme has announced its six recipients for 2020. The artists are at a formative stage of their careers and receive the funding and mentorships they need to kick start a sustainable career in the arts. The press release is on the Arts Foundation website.


Business continuity/sustainability support

Six-point approach to thinking and planning now

Tim Walker has spent three decades at the forefront of major change in New Zealand’s arts sector. With COVID-19 changing how the world works, he has provided a useful six-point plan for The Big Idea website on how artists and arts organisations could be thinking and planning now. Read When Planning is Hard, Plan We Must

Check with your contract provider (DHB, ACC, MSD) that contract payments will continue through this time.  If not, the following support may be available to you.

Government Support Package: Wage Subsidy

If you experience a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19, then you can apply for the wage subsidy.

How much you can get:

The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week
  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week.

The subsidy is paid as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee.

This subsidy is designed to help businesses keep their staff in employment and as such there is a requirement that if you receive this subsidy you must make best efforts to retain employees and pay them a minimum of 80% of their normal income for the subsidised period. For more information and to apply 

Tax relief

To support businesses and individuals impacted by COVID-19, the Government is proposing to give Inland Revenue the discretion to write-off use of money interest (UOMI) on payments due on or after 14 February 2020 if a taxpayer’s ability to make a tax payment on time has been significantly adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.  This has similar criteria to the wage subsidy (30% decline in actual or expected revenue due to COVID-19). For further information 

Commercial leases

If you're a creative space with a commercial lease there may be a clause in your lease agreement which makes it legal to not pay some or all of your rent during lockdown. Read more

Useful links

Online tools: Creative Waikato list of online platforms and tools


Guidelines: Volunteering New Zealand have posted guidelines for Volunteers at Level Two

Online Activities

Culture: Access to 500 Museums & Art Galleries – free online

Field trips and learning: A list of free, online, boredom-busting resources

Young people: Activities for children and teens 





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