Local Activation Fund

Fund Overview

We know the emotional, wellbeing and financial toll the lockdowns have had on the business community and people of Tāmaki Makaurau, and on the arts and events sectors in particular. 

This contestable fund aims to increase participation in the arts and cultural events for Auckland families, revitalising town centres again and enhancing wellbeing in our community. 

It will support the development of new programming, the enhancement of existing programming, activation and community outreach programming, and free events that will allow Aucklanders to transition out of the long period of Covid-enforced restrictions – and support the social and economic recovery of our region. 

Who can apply

Applicants can include:

• Cultural organisations and venues 
• Mana whenua and Mataawaka organisations and groups 
• Event organisers  
• Council, local boards and business improvement districts  
• Business associations  

Conditions of Funding

Your events or activities will need to comply with these requirements: 

• Demonstrate potential for increased community access, participation and local engagement  
• Mandate the use of COVID-19 vaccination certificates (My Vaccine Pass), unless exempt under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF) 
• Take place in Auckland, before 3 April 2022  
• Demonstrate how it will prioritise public health and can be delivered under CPF RED and ORANGE restrictions (depending on the proposed timing of the programme, event or activity) 
• Funding for existing events must be for increased or new content or activation, capability building or increased community accessibility. This could include extending the duration and availability of programmes, events and activities to the public. 

PLEASE NOTE: Funding for expenses for existing budgeted programmes, events and activities (with no enhancements for increased community engagement or accessibility) will not be considered. 

The Application Process

 An investment panel will be assessing your application and will make a recommendation for funding, as long as your event or activity meets the criteria. This recommendation will be assessed by a steering group with representatives from MBIE (Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment), Auckland Council, Auckland Unlimited and sector representation. 

To make sure the process is fair, any local government entity that submits a funding request will not be on the panel making a decision on that request. The final approval for any funding over $1.5 million rests with MBIE. 

Application and decision-making timelines

Phase 1

December 8 Fund open for applications.

December 15 Cut off date for events requiring funding for delivery prior to February 1 2022.

December 17 Recommendations from Investment Panel to Steering Group.

December 18 Steering Group decision on funding applications.

December 19-24 Applications notified of decisions.

Phase 2

January 11, 5pm Cut off for applications requiring funding for delivery prior to March 1 2022. 

January 19 Recommendations from Investment Panel to Steering Group. 

January 20 Steering Group decision on funding applications. 

From January 25 Applicants notified of decisions. 

Phase 3

February 9, 5pm Cut off for applications requiring funding prior to March 01 2022. 

February 16 Recommendations from Investment Panel to Steering Group. 

February 17 Steering Group decision on funding applications. 

From February 24 Applicants notified of decisions. 

Phase 4

March 1, 5pm Cut off for applications requiring funding for delivery prior to April 3, 2022. 

March 9 Recommendations from Investment Panel to Steering Group. 

March 10 Steering Group decision on funding applications. 

From March 14 Applicants notified of decisions. 

Please contact activationfund@aucklandunlimited.com with any queries.  


The $10 million Local Activation Programme is a contestable fund that has been created to support summer programming for organisations like business associations, mana whenua, mataawaka, community groups, cultural organisations, and event organisations.

The fund aims to increase participation in the arts and cultural events for Auckland families, revitalising town centres and enhancing wellbeing in our community, while stimulating economic activity for these sectors.

It is part of a wider $25.5 million Government support package, with targeted support options for our Auckland events, attractions, facilities, cultural venues and programmes. The broader support package includes:

• The $10 million Local Activation Programme: a contestable fund to support events and activities at regional and local levels

• A $12 million voucher and discount programme, Explore Tāmaki Makaurau this summer, to encourage families and whānau to visit Auckland attractions, facilities and cultural venues this summer

• $2.5 million for a destination marketing campaign to promote Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland to locals and encourage visitors from outside the Auckland region.

This new, contestable Local Activation Programme fund is aimed at drawing Aucklanders to their local and town centres and increasing the participation of Aucklanders in arts and cultural events and activities over the summer.

Centres and the arts and cultural sector have been hard hit by COVID-19, and by providing funding opportunities specifically for programmes, events and activities, the fund aims to enhance wellbeing in our community while stimulating economic activity especially for the arts and cultural sector.

The Local Activation Programme fund is different from the Activate Tāmaki Makaurau programme – this is the delivery programme for the $60m Auckland business support package announced by the Government in late October 2021. Auckland businesses can access business advice, support to put new or existing business advice into action, health and wellbeing support, and business community resources.

Detailed information about eligibility criteria, applications and the different parts of the programme is available at Activate Tāmaki Makaurau.

Those who can apply include cultural organisations and venues, mana whenua and mataawaka organisations and groups, event organisers, Council, local boards and business improvement districts, business associations and community groups.

Yes – and this type of collaboration is encouraged provided the activity meets the overall criteria. For example, a business association can partner with a community group on an activity, and a funding application can include the costs of an event company to deliver the activity.

Organisations will need to be able to demonstrate increased participation and local engagement, as well as how planned activities can safely be delivered under the Covid Protection Framework to prioritise public health, with all activities requiring vaccination passes.

Please see the criteria on the main webpage for details.

The fund will include a wide variety of events and activities, the main criteria is that they are free for the public to attend.

Examples could include Christmas markets and activity, extending festivals or events that have been disrupted by COVID-19, additional programming around cultural festivals or activities on the summer calendar, such as performance hubs or community activation, supporting UNESCO City of Music programme development, new theatre pieces, commissioning new exhibitions, displays and programming by cultural organisations and venues – and more.

The first tranche of funding will be available from 15 December 2021. The panel will review applications in three sittings over the course of the summer.

No, organisations will be able to apply at any time for the duration of the programme.

The activities, events or programmes will need to be delivered between 15 December 2021 and 3 April 2022.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel with representatives from Auckland Unlimited, Auckland Council, MBIE and an independent representative.

Where an application originates from an organisation affiliated with any representative on the review panel, those representatives will be excused from the panel for the relevant application.

Paid ticketed events are not eligible to apply for funding for the costs of the event but may apply for funding to provide free entry to the event for targeted groups.

That funding can only be for the costs of providing that free entry, not the value of the ticket.

Additional reporting may be required if the application is successful.

No – discounted ticketing is not eligible for funding through this programme.

Yes – the fund recognises that delivery under the framework creates additional expenses to ensure the event can go ahead and these expenses are eligible for funding.

You can apply for your activity at any stage once the application process is open and will be reviewed in the next funding evaluation round following receipt of the application.

The cut off dates for applications provided within each funding evaluation round are to ensure that events apply with enough lead time to have funding approved prior to their event.

Applications for events happening after these cut off dates are still able to apply in earlier funding evaluation rounds.

Yes. You can either apply for a programme of activities, or you can submit individual applications for each event or activity.

In the application form, we ask for dates, and number of occurrences. If there are multiple iterations of the same activity, you can list the dates and then provide an overview of all the activity.

Yes – provided they are specific to the delivery of the event or activity.

Yes – all expenses that are relevant to the actual delivery of an event or activity are eligible for funding.

As part of our support for local activations (and depending on your event or activity) it could be wrapped into our Auckland-wide "Summer is Calling" campaign; and will be featured on our events calendar.

If you are able to provide information and budgets on your marketing spend for your event, we will assess and consider support towards this.

Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s place brand is all about what makes our region unique. By aligning our communications and marketing to the brand themes, we can collectively tell a consistent and authentic story about Auckland that people can connect with emotionally.

The Auckland Playbook on the brand webpage describes the four brand themes mentioned in the application form in more detail.

• He whaitua whai wairuatanga - Region of Wairuatanga (Māori values, life essence)

• He tōpūtanga ao - Collective worlds (Bicultural, multicultural, unity in diversity)

• He wāhi whakakaupapa - Playground for ideas (Inspiration and innovation, young and welcoming, good growth)

• He whakamarutanga ā-tāone - Urban oasis (Balance, quality of life, restorative city)

See more here about the Auckland Playbook and brand themes here.

If your event or activity aligns with one or more of the brand themes, together we can build the brand of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. It also helps us weave your attraction or activity into campaigns such as Auckland is Calling which promotes Tāmaki Makuaurau to locals and visitors.

Applications to replace lost revenue will not be eligible, but applications can be made for the cost of activities or content that are at risk due to lost revenue.

For example, if an activity is at risk of cancelling performers due to lost funding it can apply for the funding for the actual costs of those performers impacted rather than the value of the lost funding.

No – virtual events are not eligible for funding through this programme.

An overview of the marketing plan for the activity and a budget will need to be submitted along with the application.