What we mean by Music

Music includes classical and contemporary music; orchestral, choral, and band music; opera; jazz and improvised music; sound art; contemporary popular music; 'world' music; traditional and contemporary Māori and Pacific music.

It includes customary and contemporary practices of all the peoples of Aotearoa/New Zealand, including Māori and Pasifika peoples and the diverse cultures of people living in Aotearoa/New Zealand today.

Track record requirements

For a musician or a music group, success means having performed publicly with a degree of critical or box-office success. This does not include performances made as part of a course of study.

For a music composer or writer, success means having had published or performed at least one work that received a degree of critical or sales success. This does not include performances made as part of a course of study.

Music activities we support

We fund a range of activities, for example:

Developing or presenting work

  • Creating new music work.
  • New recordings of original high-quality New Zealand music where the main purpose is to use the recording to support a future domestic or international tour, a live or digitally mediated performance, or promotion activity.
  • Commissions of new music or sound work
  • Residencies in New Zealand or overseas for New Zealand composers to create new work.
  • Touring or presenting in New Zealand or internationally.
  • Publication of music scores by New Zealand composers.

Developing skills and audiences

  • Mentoring programmes
  • Workshops, wānanga, fono, masterclasses, seminars, conferences and for creative and professional development for New Zealand composers, musicians and music practitioners.
  • Competitions that offer development opportunities for New Zealand performers and composers or engage with diverse communities
  • International professional-development opportunities for composers or performers
  • Initiatives for audience development

Community projects

  • Community arts projects that focus on professional musicians working with communities, or that have regional or national significance. (refer to Community arts)

Music criticism and documentaries

  • Publication of monographs, essay series, journals, music scores and critical writing about music from New Zealand.
  • Documentary or archival projects that focus on music from New Zealand or a New Zealand practitioner.

Activities music funding does not support

Music funding cannot be used for:

  • Music videos intended for broadcast on any platform.
  • Recording projects where the primary purpose is to distribute the recording via retail or online platforms
  • Projects that have received funding from or that meet the criteria of, another government organisation.
  • Production costs for presenting New Zealand music by an international company for an international audience.

Other support for contemporary popular New Zealand music

Check which government organisation funds your type of project.  Creative New Zealand, NZ on Air and the New Zealand Music Commission share information on applications to ensure there is no duplication of funding.

Live performance

Creative New Zealand funds:

  • New Zealand tours
  • international performances
  • making recordings to support live performance and promotion.

Broadcast and online

NZ On Air funds:

  • single tracks
  • making music videos
  • music promotion.

Te Māngai Pāho funds:

  • recording music in Te Reo Maori for iwi radio.

Industry support and growth

New Zealand Music Commission funds:

  • increasing expertise
  • music education and engagement
  • international market development.
Music Managers Forum is designed to support self-managed artists or managers. Professional development and networking support is provided.