About the Museum Hardship Fund

The Museum Hardship Fund provides a contestable grant designed to address the impact of forced closures and reductions as a result of Covid-19.


The Museum Hardship Fund grants will support the protection of collections, enable ongoing access to those collections, contribute to the protection of jobs, and contribute to the continued viability of museums, galleries, and iwi, hapū, and whānau groups caring for taonga.

This fund is part of the Regenerating Arts, Cultural and Heritage initiative supported by Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

We welcome applications from community-run and volunteer museums and galleries, iwi, hapū and whānau, whare taonga, and small to medium-sized museums, galleries and cultural organisations (including council run) who care for taonga and collections.


Eligible organisations must be able to demonstrate hardship as a result of Covid-19. This should primarily be demonstrated through loss of income, but other measures can also be outlined. These include (but are not limited to):

  • public programme potential

  • diminished levels of care for collections and public access to collections

  • loss and potential loss of key staff.

You must represent a legally constituted non-profit organisation, such as an incorporated society, charitable trust or iwi authority. If you have applied for a new status and are waiting for confirmation, just let us know in your application.

If your organisation does not hold legal status, you may need to work with an ‘umbrella’ organisation to put in your application.

Council-run museums or galleries that do not hold charitable status are able to apply for the Museum Hardship Fund under an umbrella organisation who has a direct relationship to the applicant. To satisfy the criteria, a council-run museum or gallery must be able to demonstrate their financial position by providing a detailed operating budget as a business unit of the Council. You must also inform us of any legacy funds or special purpose funds allocated for the use of the museum or gallery. 

Please note: that we are not able to receive applications from large metropolitan museums or galleries or from privately owned and operated museums, galleries, and collections that do not hold charitable status.

Your organisation can make one application of up to $25,000.00 excluding GST per financial year (1 Jul – 30 Jun). There will be at least two funding rounds per annum. 

Dates for the funding rounds will be advised via our e-news alert and social media channels.

Sign-up for the NSTP newsletter for museums and galleries

Important dates to know for round one 

28 Aug 2020 Applications for round one open
25 Sep 2020 Applications for round one close
23 Oct 2020 All applicants advised of outcome
July 2021 First report due
December 2021 Second report due

Important dates to know for round two 

22 March 2021 Applications for round two open
30th April 2021  Applications for round two close
28rd May 2021 All applicants advised of outcome
December 2021  First report due 
June 2022 Second report due 

Important dates to know for round three 

1st September 2021 Applications for round three open
29th October 2021, 5pm  Applications for round three close
26th  November 2021 All applicants advised of outcome
June 2022  First report due 
December 2022 Second report due 

Important dates to know for round four 

1st March 2022 Applications for round four open
29th April 2022, 5pm  Applications for round four close
24th May 2022 All applicants advised of outcome
January 2023  First report due 
June 2023 Second report due 

Important dates to know for round five 

1st September 2022 Applications for round five open
30th September 2022, 5pm  Applications for round five close
October 2022 All applicants advised of outcome
May 2023  First report due 
November 2023 Second report due 

Important dates to know for round six 

As a result of National Services Te Paerangi prioritising our focus on the communities affected by the cyclone and flooding, we have postponed the opening of our final round for the Museum Hardship Fund until further notice. Please subscribe to our e-news where we will announce any updates on funding rounds. 

TBC Applications for round six open
TBC  Applications for round six close
May 2023  All applicants advised of outcome
November 2023  First report due 
May 2024 Second report due 

What can the Museum Hardship Grant fund?

A. Compensation for hardship – funding will primarily be allocated to compensate for hardship incurred as a result of Covid-19, for ongoing and operational costs.

Applications might include:

  • rent, security costs, heating, insurance, and other ongoing operational bills
  • contribution to wages for key staff
  • services of tradespeople for the critical maintenance of infrastructure
  • the purchase of consumable materials that support best practice collections care and preventative conservation
  • capital projects or capital items related to the protection of collections and / or making collections more accessible (up to a limit of $10,000 excl. GST per application)

B. Sustainable practice – funding can also be applied towards work that seeks to address organisational and or financial sustainability, such as:

  • the development of a planning and policy documents for more effective and efficient museum operations
  • a strategic review to reset organisational arrangements for a post-Covid-19 context
  • development of promotion and marketing strategy and materials
  • review of your current online offer and the development of a strategy to enhance and reach new audiences
  • development of an educational strategy and resources 
  • review of governance structure
  • review of target audiences and the development of a refreshed offer to maximise impact and visitation.

Activities we don’t support

We are unable to support capital projects or items that are not related to the protection of collections and/or making collections more accessible. 

We are also unable to fund:

  • the acquisition of artworks or artefacts
  • projects and Covid-19 recovery support covered by other funders, including: 
    • capital items and projects – funded by Lottery WWI Commemorations and Environment & Heritage Grants or MCH via the Regional Cultural and Heritage Fund 
    • oral history – funded by National Library of New Zealand 
    • educational programmes – funded by the Ministry of Education
    • operations of some cultural organisations already funded via the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme and Budget 2020 allocation
  • purchases or bills that have already been paid or projects or reports that have already been completed
  • loan repayments.

National and international travel for professional development is not covered by this fund, although support to attend training opportunities is available through NSTP Travel Subsidy and Professional Development Grants.

More information about NSTP funding and grants

How to apply

Before applying, you must contact your local Museum or Iwi Development Adviser to discuss your proposed application.

If you have any questions about the application process, please email our Kaiwhakamahere Ratonga Pūtea | Funding Advisor in the first instance. Your Museum and Iwi Development Advisor are also familiar with the criteria. 

Kirsty Timu, Kaiwhakahaere Ratonga Putea | Funding Advisor, Museum Hardship Fund
Kirsty.timu@tepapa.govt.nz | 029 770 4106

Sally August, Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga | Museum Development Adviser, North Island 
Sally.August@tepapa.govt.nz | 029 601 0370 
Judith Taylor, Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga | Museum Development Adviser, South Island 
juditht@tepapa.govt.nz | 029 601 0410 
Paora Tibble, Poutikanga ā-Iwi | Iwi Development Manager
Paora.Tibble@tepapa.govt.nz | 029 601 0440  

Complete a downloadable version and send, with any supporting documentation, to natserv@tepapa.govt.nz.

Or post it to:

Museum Hardship Fund Application
National Services Te Paerangi
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
PO Box 467 

You will be advised of the outcome within one month after the closing date for applications.

All decisions made by the assessment panel are final, and no correspondence will be entered into.

If your application is successful you will enter into a contract for funding which will determine the use of the funds and the accountability reporting required.


List of all successful fund recipients: Museum Hardship Fund Recipients

Contact us

Phone: 0508 678 743
Email: natserv@tepapa.govt.nz