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Coronavirus: Waitangi Day event funding dependent on alert level planning

Waitangi Day 2021 event organisers are being asked to plan for different coronavirus alert levels to receive Government funding.

Applications for the 2021 Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund are now open, with Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage offering $288,000 in grants for events around the country.

But the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic means organisers need to outline how their events will run at different alert levels, and be prepared to cancel or postpone events if the country is at alert level 4 in February 2021.

The national commemorations at Waitangi in the Far North benefited from $268,000 from the fund this year.
The national commemorations at Waitangi in the Far North benefited from $268,000 from the fund this year.

The different Covid-19 alert levels will be challenging for event organisers, and large-scale events may need to be curtailed, said Tamsin Evans, the ministry’s pou mataaho o te hua deputy chief executive delivery.

“However, we trust organisers will be able to tailor their event to suit by making it easy for people to practise good hygiene, and ensuring such things as physical distancing and wearing face masks are taken into account.”

Tui Kirkwood checks her hangi at the Waitangi Day events at Western Community Centre, Nawton. The Hamilton event received $2000 this year.
Tui Kirkwood checks her hangi at the Waitangi Day events at Western Community Centre, Nawton. The Hamilton event received $2000 this year.

Evans said a marae open day or te Tiriti information sessions could run to limited numbers with different sessions throughout the day, or with virtual participation.

“We know these are challenging circumstances, but each year we see a huge amount of aroha and creativity in the events applicants put forward for funding, and we think 2021 will be no different in this regard.”

Cultural performances at Porirua's Waitangi Day commemorations, and food, captivate youngsters.
Cultural performances at Porirua’s Waitangi Day commemorations, and food, captivate youngsters.

If events needs to be cancelled, grant recipients may not need to repay their grants.

“If we are satisfied the cancellation was due to circumstances beyond the control of the applicant – for example, if Covid-19 alert levels in February 2021 mean the event can no longer proceed – we don’t require the grant to be repaid when it’s already been spent on event costs.”

Participants learn taiaha at a whānau fun day hosted by Te Aitarakihi Trust and Aoraki Migrant Centre.
Participants learn taiaha at a whānau fun day hosted by Te Aitarakihi Trust and Aoraki Migrant Centre.

The Commemorating Waitangi Day Fund aims to encourage a wider mix of communities to take part in Waitangi Day events, commemorating the signing of te Tiriti o Waitangi.

All communities should work together to hold local events, Bernadette Cavanagh, the ministry’s tumu whakarae chief executive, said.

At Patea’s Paepae in the Park, Quentin Smith's energetic cartwheels won him a prize in a dancing contest.
At Patea’s Paepae in the Park, Quentin Smith’s energetic cartwheels won him a prize in a dancing contest.

“Projects run in partnership between local authorities, community groups and tangata whenua are particularly encouraged.”

Grants generally range from $1000 to $5000, although $268,000 was granted this year for the national commemorations at Waitangi and $15,000 for Auckland Council’s Summer Vibes, run with Waitangi ki Tamaki Collective.

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