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The Asian Artists’ Fund is a step towards addressing funding inequities for Asian artists through targeted project grants

23 March 2023   /   News & reports

This fund acknowledges the place of Asian peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand in relation to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our nation’s bicultural foundation.

Understanding the place of Asian New Zealanders goes hand in hand with understanding their roles and responsibilities as Treaty partners since Te Tiriti o Waitangi is an agreement between Tangata Whenua and Tangata Tiriti. In this context, we define Tangata Tiriti as inclusive of all those who call Aotearoa home – Pākehā and Tauiwi. This fund was first delivered in 2022, the result of a partnership between Foundation North and Creative New Zealand.

About the Fund

The second iteration of this fund, which opened in December 2022 and closed in March 2023 has been influenced by:

Focus of the fund

Artforms supported: Theatre, Music, Craft/Object, Visual Arts, Community Arts, Multidisciplinary arts, Literature, Interarts, Dance.

Projects that would be the mandate of the New Zealand Film Commission or NZ on Air, including short film, feature film, and web series development and production, are ineligible for this fund.

Foundation North is a Community Trust for the benefit of communities in Auckland and Northland, please see our operating boundaries. Projects from applicants outside these boundaries are ineligible for funding unless the project is directly delivered or directly impacting on the Auckland and Northland region.

Project timeframe: Projects must be completed within 12 months of the decision date.


Our co-design process has led us to focus on three key streams.

  • All streams are inclusive of projects that use traditional Asian artforms and ancestral practices that are not easily defined using the above artform definitions.
  • All streams are inclusive of digital practice expressed through the above artforms.

Stream 1. One-off Artistic Projects

Providing opportunities for Asian artists to develop and deliver artistic projects within a clearly identified timeframe.

Artists are supported to explore collaborations, forms, and content meaningful to them. This can include either the development or presentation of creative projects or a combination of both.

Funding requests can support artistic professional development for an artist as part of project delivery, e.g. skills acquisition that will support the project they are applying to deliver. However, artistic professional development as an end in itself is not a focus of this fund.

Stream 2. Strengthening Organisations

Supporting existing Asian-led arts organisations to build their capability.

Your organisation should be working within one or more of the genres outlined above to be eligible for funding.

It is expected that these projects will be scoped and delivered alongside a contractor or partner with specific skills that the organisation has identified as having strong potential to move their organisation forward in a specific area.

Projects that this stream can support include:

  • development of a strategic plan, marketing plan, fundraising plan, etc.
  • support to develop an entity structure, e.g. to become a limited liability company or charitable trust.
  • development of financial systems and processes and/or financial planning capability.
  • if your organisation has identified another activity that is not listed as an example above, please feel free to get in touch to discuss your idea.

Stream 3. Strengthening the Sector

Development initiatives for artists and organisations working in the genres defined above. This includes:

3.1 Organisational-led internships

Asian-led organisations can apply for costs associated with remunerating an intern and their mentor. You will need to demonstrate that you have the capacity and capability to support the intern for the duration of the internship.

Roles an intern might undertake can include, but are not limited to, arts administration, producing, marketing, management and artistic leadership.

3.2 Artist-led Internships

Individuals wishing to create opportunities to develop skills in arts administration, producing, marketing, management, artistic leadership, etc. can approach an organisation they wish to work with to develop an internship/mentoring model to support their development in a chosen area.

As the focus of this stream is artist-led internships, the host organisation the artist nominates does not need to be Asian-led.

3.3 Sector-led community development initiatives

Individuals, companies, or collectives can apply to deliver events or initiatives that are designed to build connections and advance collective practice across the Asian arts sector.

Projects that this stream can support include:

  • an event that brings the Asian Arts Community together to discuss issues of relevance.
  • an event that brings together a range of artform practitioners to discuss the potential for cross-artform collaboration.
  • An event that enables artists to come together and participate in workshops and share skills and perspectives.
  • if you, your organisation, or your collective has identified another activity that is not listed as an example above, please feel free to get in touch to discuss your idea.