Ngā Toi investment outcomes - Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi

Ngā Toi investment
outcomes brief

Brief: Ngā Toi investment outcomes

This brief is drawn from the research report Mapping the Auckland Funding Ecosystem for Ngā Toi – Culture, Creativity and the Arts. The report was co-commissioned by Auckland Council and Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi in February 2021.


The research report Mapping the Auckland Funding Ecosystem for Ngā Toi – Culture, Creativity and the Arts was co-commissioned by Te Taumata Toi‐a‐Iwi and Auckland Council. The goal of the research was to map the funding ecosystem for Ngā Toi in the Auckland region to help build understanding about:

  • What outcomes are currently being sought and prioritised by investors in Ngā Toi
  • Funding issues/challenges that may require shared attention in order to address gaps within the investment ecosystem
  • Potential connections and areas of shared priority that may provide a platform for collaboration between funders and a more connected sector investment ecosystem

This brief focuses on the outcomes identified in the research.

Note: This research is focused on mapping investment into what would have traditionally been described as the ‘arts’ or ‘arts and culture’ sector. Throughout the report, and in this brief, the term ‘Ngā Toi’ is used to encompass culture, creativity and art; and to better reflect the way that art, creativity, language and cultural knowledge are understood as an integrated whole that isn’t always captured by the more Western framing of ‘art’.

Outcomes research - overview

The outcomes outlined in this brief were identified through research across a range of funders investing in the Auckland region. These included:

  • Central government and associated Crown agencies
  • Local government and associated Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) with an investment budget
  • Philanthropic funders including family foundations, community trusts, community foundations and trustee companies; as well as individual private donors
  • Corporates investing through corporate foundations or corporate sponsorship
  • Iwi

Some of these investors have an Auckland regional focus, whilst others have a national focus that may or may not include specific regional priorities for Auckland. Many of these funders are investing in Ngā Toi both directly or indirectly i.e., with varying degrees of intentionality in terms of their strategic intent to support Ngā Toi and the range of outcomes that it offers as a sector. This relative intentionality or focus is described as a continuum in the diagram below:

Analysis of the key outcomes being supported by funders through their investments in Ngā Toi identified significant alignment across the continuum, from the specialist and inclusive funders of Ngā Toi, and the broader group of community funders which support initiatives and projects across a range of sectors, including Ngā Toi.

For specialist and inclusive funders, clarity around shared outcomes creates an opportunity for collaboration to develop a regional investment strategy for Ngā Toi, responding to regional priorities and maximising impact across shared outcome areas of interest. The development of this strategy may be led by funders of scale and with significant regional presence.

The broader group of community funders present both a challenge and an opportunity.  Many of these funders currently appear to invest in Ngā Toi ‘accidentally’, either because of the general and non-sector specific nature of their funding, or due to their interest in supporting broad community wellbeing outcomes. These investors may have a more limited understanding of the unique role that Ngā Toi plays in supporting community wellbeing outcomes. This may put Ngā Toi at risk of year-to-year divestment by broad funders as other community needs arise – e.g., the emergency social needs that have arisen through COVID-19.

Clarifying for funders with a general interest in community wellbeing the outcomes they share with the Ngā Toi sector and increasing these funders’ understanding of the value of investing in Ngā Toi, provides an opportunity to influence them to be more intentional with and/or extend the scope of their investment.

Outcomes supported by the Ngā Toi investment ecosystem

Organisations participating in this research were asked to identify outcomes that they seek to support with their funding. A list of outcome area themes relevant to the sector was also provided to support organisations in identifying outcomes that their funding is aligned with; particularly those organisations that do not have clearly identifiable outcomes within their existing strategic/funding frameworks. Further outcomes were identified through desktop research, through e.g., reviewing strategic plans, statements of intent or annual reports.

This diagram describes the key investment outcome areas that were identified through this research. Some funders identified outcome areas as being interconnected. For example, access and participation in the arts was framed by some funders as being a short-term outcome that would support wellbeing outcomes in the long term.

Employment, income and economic development

This outcome area shows that a number of funders are focused on economic growth and development through Ngā Toi, both nationally and regionally. This includes a focus on strengthening and growing the creative industries; as well as supporting the skills and career development of creatives to enable more sustainable income, employment and enterprise.

This outcome area was typically a focus of central government, Council and CCO investors due to its overall economic focus. No philanthropic funders who participated in research interviews identified this focus area; although desktop research shows that some philanthropic funders do support pathways to employment and/or community-led enterprise outcomes – without necessarily identifying Ngā Toi as a priority or focus area for this.

The most commonly identified type of outcome within this outcome area was growing and strengthening creative industries. For example:

  • The NZ Film Commission (2019) has an outcome to “sustain and strengthen economic growth for our thriving screen industry”.
  • The NZ Music Commission (2020) has an identified strategic result (outcome) that “New Zealand music businesses grow their opportunities and successes”; that “New Zealand music practitioners have the resources and tools for doing better business”; and that “New Zealand music can compete in an evolving and diverse international music environment”.
  • Auckland Council (2015) identifies a goal for Auckland to have “a robust and flourishing creative economy” within its Arts and Culture Action Plan, Toi Whītiki.
  • The Asia NZ Foundation (n.d.) identifies “supporting local practitioners to grow their understanding of Asia and make industry connections in the region” as a key focus of its arts programme.

This outcome area was also seen as important from the perspective of creative practitioners /organisations, as identified in the Te Taumata COVID-19 follow up survey with the following outcomes being identified as key to their practice.

  • Personal income (63% of respondents)
  • Personal career development (59%)
  • Strengthening the creative industries (36%).

Ngā Toi sector capacity and development

This outcome area focuses on strengthening the capacity, capability and sustainability of individual creatives, creative organisations and the Ngā Toi sector at large. Whilst this was a clearly identifiable investment outcome for Ngā Toi specialist funders, few other funders aligned with this outcome area unless they had a broader focus on supporting the capability and capacity of funded individuals/organisations. Examples of funders that do align are included below:

  • Under its “activate” strategic pou, Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi (n.d.) identifies a desire to “co-invest in opportunities with potential to strengthen the creative sector’s capability for impact”.
  • Creative New Zealand (2019) identifies a “stronger arts sector” as key outcome area. This is in part focused on building the “resilience” of the arts sector.
  • Auckland Council (n.d.) has a Regional Arts and Culture Grant: Business Capacity and Development, which is focused on building “the sustainability of regional arts and culture organisations through the development of: strategic, business and marketing plans; feasibility studies; organisational development; and digital development activities”.

Sector capacity and development is also a focus of the new Ministry for Culture and Heritage Arts and Culture COVID-19 Recovery Programme funding, with a $12m fund launched in December 2020 focused on strengthening capability and sustainability across the sector – particularly for Māori and independent artists/practitioners (MCH, 2020d).

Ngā Toi sector capacity and development was also seen as being somewhat important from the perspective of creative practitioners/organisations, with 35% of survey respondents identifying professional development for creative practitioners as a key outcome of their work.

Enhanced personal and community wellbeing

Outcomes related to wellbeing were common amongst a wide range of funders – including Ngā Toi specialists, Ngā Toi inclusive and broad funders.  Funders appear to identify wellbeing outcomes in relation to the physical, mental, cultural and spiritual wellbeing of individuals (creatives or participants in creative experiences) and, more commonly, wider communities (place-based communities or population groups e.g., young people).

Creative practitioners/organisations who participated in the sector survey identified “creative expression/fulfilment” as a specific form of personal wellbeing. This was the outcome area most commonly selected by survey respondents (74%). In addition:

  • 55% identified enhancing belonging and inclusion through arts engagement as a key outcome area
  • 55% identified enhancing wellbeing through creative participation
  • 42% identified supporting youth development through arts engagement
  • 40% identified supporting connections to cultural identity through the arts.

The most commonly identified wellbeing outcomes identified by funders were enhanced personal and community wellbeing through engagement with Ngā Toi and belonging and inclusion through engagement with Ngā Toi. Examples are included below:

  • Under its ‘community support’ strategic focus area, Foundation North (n.d.) is seeking to fund “participation in positive activities [that] improves community wellbeing”, including “activity that leads to… increased skills and creativity”.
  • The Lottery Community Grants (Department of Internal Affairs) support a wide range of sectors and activities, including Ngā Toi. Intended outcomes for this fund include “community wellbeing”, the promotion of “community or cultural identity” and “people feel that they belong and can take part in their community (Community Matters, n.d.).

Most government and or Crown entity funders identified some form of enhanced wellbeing as an outcome area. This reflects the Government's general emphasis on wellbeing, which continues to be enacted through its most recent wellbeing budget (Treasury, 2020).

Access to and participation in Ngā Toi

Many specialist and inclusive funders of Ngā Toi referenced access and participation as key outcome areas, with a primary focus on increasing engagement and access to Ngā Toi experiences. For example:

  • NZ on Air (2020) has an investment goal focused on ensuring “New Zealand audiences can find and appreciate local content”.

Access and participation outcomes are sometimes linked by funders to other outcome areas. For example, Foundation North link access and participation to strengthening wellbeing, belonging and inclusion; whilst CNZ link access and participation to a wider valuing and support of Ngā Toi.

Some funders invest in venues and other infrastructure, spaces or facilities (capital and/or operating expenses) to enable increased community access to Ngā Toi. Most funders tend to favour supporting venues/infrastructure that is multi-sectoral or multi-use. Part of MCH’s new Arts and Culture COVID-19 Recovery Programme includes additional funding for CNZ’s Emergency Response Package designed to “ensure the retention of critical arts infrastructure, keeping our arts institutions open and able to retain staff”, supporting continuity of access and participation in Ngā Toi by creatives/audiences/communities (MCH, 2020d).

The sector survey saw 49% of creative practitioners/organisations surveyed identify public engagement with and access to the arts as a key outcome area of their work; with a further 22% identifying that their work is providing access to arts infrastructure.

Preservation and development of Aotearoa New Zealand’s cultural identity

Specialist and inclusive Ngā Toi funders – particularly central government, local government and Crown entities – were most likely to invest in outcomes that describe the Ngā Toi as an essential element of Aotearoa New Zealand’s cultural identity. Funders investing in this outcome area do so from several perspectives:

  • To preserve taonga and cultural traditions – e.g., Te Papa Tongarewa (n.d.), which has grants to assist galleries, museums and iwi with initiatives that contribute to the ongoing preservation of cultural taonga.
  • To strengthen the cultural fabric and identity of Tāmaki Makaurau and/or Aotearoa New Zealand – e.g., the NZ Music Commission (2020), which has a strategic focus area to make “New Zealand music is part of the national cultural conversation”; Auckland Council (2015), which has seeks to ensure that “Auckland celebrates a unique cultural identity”; and the NZ Film Commission (2019), which identifies a strategic outcome that “New Zealanders share a distinct and inclusive identity and value our history and traditions”.
  • To support opportunities for creatives/audiences to connect with their cultural identity and strengthen their cultural wellbeing (as discussed under wellbeing).

The sector survey saw 24% of creative practitioners/organisations surveyed identify preserving cultural heritage and taonga as a key outcome area of their work.

General community benefit

The broad funders identified in this research – for example gaming trusts – are typically focused on enacting their authorised purpose and have fewer outcomes-focused criteria. This means that they are open to supporting a wide range of initiatives and activities that have some form of community benefit, including Ngā Toi.


The insight into the outcomes sought by both funders provides a strong foundation for collaboration at a regional level to maximising impact across shared outcome areas of interest.  The development of a regional investment strategy for Ngā Toi, responding to regional priorities would help facilitate this, and provide a platform for addressing other key funding issues.  These include the need for strategic and collaborative efforts to address funding gaps and inequity of access to funding, and engagement with the wider community of funders to increase understanding of the value of investing in Ngā Toi.



The information in this report has been collated through mixed method research, including key informative interviews, online and sector surveys, desktop research and the inclusion of detailed data supplied by Auckland Council and Creative New Zealand outlining their investment into Ngā Toi. The emerging impact of COVID-19 on the investment ecosystem is also considered where possible.


This brief refers to the following documents: