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.

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 including 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.

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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
23 Apr 2021 First report due
22 Oct 2021 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.

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 don’t support capital projects or capital items. That includes seed funding for building projects and major redevelopments or any item that lasts longer than 12 months and costs more than $1,000.00 excluding GST.

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.

Apply online or 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 

Apply for the Museum Hardship Fund online

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.

Contact us

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