The Ethnic Communities Development Fund is a contestable fund with a total of $520,000 to be distributed in one funding round each year.

The fund will open on Wednesday 14 August 2019 and close midnight Wednesday 25 September 2019.

Funding is for projects to be undertaken in the next calendar year 1 January – 31 December.

For other funding options please visit the Community Matters website(external link) or contact a Community Advisor on 0800 824 824 or by email at


Improving  New Zealand’s social cohesion and supporting the development of established and emerging ethnic communities.

What we fund

The fund is available for projects that meet the purpose and one of the three funding priorities.

Leadership Development Projects Social Cohesion Projects Cultural Events
Projects that build leadership capability within and between ethnic communities Projects that bring together diverse communities to promote inclusion and community harmony. Social cohesion is evident when ethnic people have a sense of belonging and participation, and communities are inclusive and value diversity Projects that bring together diverse communities to celebrate ethnic language/culture/identity, build intercultural relationships and demonstrate the benefits of ethnic diversity


Peer mentoring for ethnic leaders between different ethnic groups

Workshops aimed at building capability for ethnic women's representation on boards

Governance and media training

Leadership development projects aimed at ethnic youth

Youth leadership forums

Projects aimed at emerging leaders


Public discussion series on growing an ethnically inclusive society

Seminars discussing local and global challenges for ethnic groups and how to overcome them

Marae-based activities to build connections between ethnic groups and Māori

Projects such as sport and recreational activities that encourage social interactions between different ethnic groups in the community

Intercultural awareness workshops


A multicultural festival or series of events showcasing cultural traditions to the wider community

Exhibition, film or art projects to explore issues of identity and belonging

Ethnic food festivals

Requests should show how the project will build leadership skills and develop connections between other ethnic groups.

Requests should show how the project will develop belonging, participation, inclusion and/or valuing diversity for ethnic communities.

Requests should provide an estimate of how many people are expected to attend, and show how the project will enhance intercultural relationships and the benefits of ethnic diversity.

Download an ECDF Information Sheet [PDF, 223 KB]

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What we do not fund

Grants will not be awarded to projects that are:

  • aimed at staff development programmes or an individual’s development
  • for ongoing salaries, and/or administration costs
  • grants to individuals
  • for research or capital works
  • for reimbursement of projects that have  been completed
  • for debt repayment
  • specifically intended to generate profit
  • to promote commercial, political objectives or religious ministry
  • fundraisers
  • for alcohol and similar substances

Who can apply

  • Groups with projects that benefit ethnic communities in New Zealand.
  • Groups without legal status are limited to a total of $10,000.Grants over $10,000 may only be approved to organizations with legal entity status.

Our mandated communities include migrants, refugees, long-term settlers, and those born in New Zealand who identify their ethnicity as:

  • African
  • Asian
  • Continental European
  • Latin American
  • Middle Eastern


  • Legal entity status includes, but is not limited to, incorporated societies, Trusts registered under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957, companies with charitable purposes, local authorities, school boards of trustees and/or Māori trust boards in accordance with the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955.
  • Registration with Department of Internal Affairs Charities Services does not confer a legal status.

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Funding available

Ethnic Communities Development Fund
Total $520,000

Leadership Development Projects

$100k allocated with grants of approximately

Social Cohesion Projects

$300k allocated with grants of approximately

Cultural Events

$70k allocated with grants of approximately

 $50,000 has been set aside for flexible allocation to any of the above priorities.

Groups may make just one request in each funding round. If you have a number of different projects you may want to use the social cohesion priority.

How decisions will be made

Grant decisions will be based on those requests that show:

  • the project is aligned with the purpose of the fund and one of the three funding priorities
  • the project is well designed and planned
  • the group has the capability and capacity to deliver a successful project
  • the project has clearly defined benefits with an outcome (or outcomes) that can be measured and evaluated
  • the project has a clear start and end date within the funding period
  • the project will be undertaken in New Zealand

The Office will establish a Panel to make funding recommendations to the Director, Office of Ethnic Communities. Membership of the Panel will change annually as membership rotates. The final decisions regarding funding are made by the Director, Office of Ethnic Communities. Any correspondence or communications about the fund will be through the Department of Internal Affairs.

Decisions about grants will be available in mid-December 2019.

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Making a funding request

Organisations must provide the following financial information to support their request for a grant.

  • the most recent set of annual accounts, financial statements or performance report
  • a budget(external link) showing how the grant will be used.

See further information about applying for grants(external link)

Additional information

Successful Grants - 2019 Additional Funding Round or in Abobe [PDF, 150 KB]

Successful Grants - 2018 Funding Round or in Abobe [PDF, 168 KB]

Successful Grants - 2017 Funding Round(external link) or in Adobe [PDF, 506 KB]

Successful Grants - 2016 Funding Round(external link) or in Adobe [PDF, 498 KB]

See your organisation's previously submitted request(external link)

Contact details

For assistance call 0800 824 824 or email

The Ethnic Communities Development Fund supports the Office of Ethnic Communities' Focus Area 4: Valuing diverse cultures and ethnicities within communities, wider society and the nation.

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