The Ethnic Communities Development Fund is a contestable fund with a total of $520,000 for distribution each year.

The fund is now closed for 2019.

Decisions will be available early December. Funding is for projects to be undertaken in the next year.

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 emerging and established ethnic communities.

What we fund

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


Inclusive New Zealand - Projects which bring diverse communities together to promote belonging, participation, inclusion and/or recognition of ethnic communities

Examples of what we fund:

  • Intercultural awareness training
  • Ethnic leadership networks
  • Events that bring people of different faiths together to build understanding
  • Exhibitions showcasing ethnic diversity such as NZ Indian migration stories

Thriving ethnic communities - Projects which support the development of emerging and established ethnic communities

Examples of what we fund:

  • Leadership and governance training
  • Media training for leadership groups
  • Intergenerational dialogues
  • Cultural celebrations – such as Korean Chuseok festival or Zo cultural show

Note: We understand that cultural events are an important part of expressing and sharing cultural diversity, however, the fund is aiming at broader outcomes. Therefore, grants for cultural events are likely to be a contribution rather than full funding.

Download an ECDF Information Sheet [PDF, 128 KB]

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What we do not fund

Grants will not be awarded to projects that are:

  • 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 organisations with legal entity status.

Groups may make more than one request to the fund in any year.

Our mandated communities include migrants, former 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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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 two 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 following year
  • the project will be undertaken in New Zealand

The Office of Ethnic Communities 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 decision 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 early 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 or in Adobe [PDF, 506 KB]

Successful Grants - 2016 Funding Round 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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