Questions and Answers

Languages Innovation Fund

The Languages Innovation Fund is currently on hold, and we will re-open applications in a months time (April 2020).

We would like to thank everyone for their applications to date, the first phase of the pilot for this fund has now come to an end. The available pool of funding has been allocated to a number of initiatives, programmes and events. 

What is the Languages Innovation Fund and how did it come about?

The Languages Innovation Fund is a funding scheme that is available through the Ministry for Pacific Peoples aimed at supporting community initiatives that:

  • support celebrating and increasing the awareness of Pacific languages;
  • help grow the number of speakers of Pacific languages; and
  • help ensure that Pacific languages are recognised and valued. 

This scheme, among a range of initiatives, is a result of the $20 million investment in Pacific languages that was announced as part of Budget 2019.

Why is this funding scheme needed?

Pacific languages are in decline both in Aotearoa and abroad. There is a general recognition that languages are important for Pacific peoples’ cultural identity and that languages and culture are related to a Pacific persons’ sense of belonging and potential to participate with confidence in society. This funding scheme, along with other initiatives as part of the Ministry’s languages work programme, is aimed at addressing this decline.

This funding scheme also responds to feedback during the Ministry’s Pacific Aotearoa engagements with over 2,500 Pacific peoples in 2018 and captured in Lalanga Fou Goal 1: Thriving Pacific languages, cultures and identities

Who can apply?

Pacific individuals, groups or organisations can apply.  

Eligibility for the Fund

The purpose of this funding program is to support community activities, programmes/initiatives and events that help grow and strengthen Pacific languages, cultures and identities so that there is:

  • better awareness and visibility of the language;
  • evidence of increased daily use of the language in the home, community and the workplace;
  • an increased connection by Pacific and non-Pacific young people, non-speakers or those with limited proficiency to the language and they are supported and motivated to learn the language and know more about Pacific culture and be proud and aware of their identities as Pacific Aotearoa;
  • a thriving and vibrant community across Aotearoa and different public and private domains where Pacific languages are being spoken, and along with culture is celebrated and highly valued and recognized; and
  • a perceptible increase in the number of speakers of Pacific languages.

The following criteria will be applied to determine what and who can be funded

  • Community and church-based language and cultural programmes, activities and events;
  • Family-based language and cultural activities and events;
  • Adult, community-based language (and cultural) learning programmes;
  • Development of language resources that is not able to be funded from other sources – for example adult language resources for families. This might include supporting resources developed by private enterprises but for public gain and benefit but not for private financial gain or profit;
  • Community and/or family-based initiatives that are complementary to ECE and school based programmes. For example, this fund will support resources for parents that complements and enhances language learning for their children in education settings and at home;
  • There will be consideration for funding to support community groups to participate in regional festivals that demonstrate linkages with languages, culture and identities priorities, such as the Auckland Pasifika Festival and others;
  • Innovative language instruction programs, tools and resources etc., that use technology; and
  • The development of new models, frameworks as well as strategies and plans to support language revitalisation and maintenance. 

What will not be funded?

This program will not fund:

  • For-profit activities including wages;
  • Initiatives not aligned with the priorities of this fund;
  • Programmes that are the direct responsibility and located within the domain of other sectors (such as ECE, school and tertiary-based language programmes which are the primary responsibility of the Ministry of Education and TEC);
  • Activities directly related to and occurring during the annual language weeks (as this is funded in a separate stream but noting it is subject to the review findings which is currently underway and scheduled to be competed in 2020). However, it could support carry-over initiatives that are linked but occur outside of the language weeks);
  • Existing debts and legal costs;
  • Programmes and activities occurring overseas (as other avenues are being investigated to explore how Pacific languages can be mutually supported in Aotearoa and the Pacific);
  • Expenditure and costs incurred before the funding agreement is signed-off and/or the project commences;
  • Wages, salaries, infrastructure and fixed assets, capital expenditure;
  • Academic research and other academic activities; and
  • Infrastructure and travel (Travel to bring in an expert on Pacific languages, cultures and identities may be considered)

When is the closing date?

There is no closing date.

How much can I apply for?

There are three funding tiers that you can apply for as follows:







  SMALL         Up to $1,500


  • Designed to support small scale and/or one-off community activities and initiatives with a relatively short time-frame
  • Some examples are: Planning sessions and small gatherings (e.g. venue fee/catering costs)
  • Report-back is to be completed and submitted by successful applications within 8 weeks of completion of initiative or activity
  MEDIUM   $1,500 - $3,500    
  • Designed to support small to medium-sized community activities and initiatives
  • Some examples are: Full-day workshops and medium-sized gatherings (e.g. venue fee, collateral costs, catering costs)
  • Report-back is to be completed and submitted by successful applications within 10 weeks of completion of initiative or activity
  LARGE   $3,500 - $5,000    
  • Designed to support moderately larger community initiatives and/or activities
  • Some examples are: Workshops, events and projects on a larger scale (e.g. multiple workshops/events)
  • Report-back is to be completed and submitted by successful applications within 12 weeks of completion of initiative or activity


Why the tiered funding approach?

A tiered approach recognises the need for flexibility given the nature and breadth of community initiatives, as well as the diverse range of capacity and capabilities, as highlighted in the Lalanga Fou report. It recognizes the need to support a range of community initiatives, in particular, small community group activities and initiatives. As highlighted in the Lalanga Fou report and feedback from the Pacific Aotearoa engagements in 2018, smaller and less established groups experience difficulty in accessing and competing with more established providers for funding. This approach also allows a more efficient and streamlined process for administering, awarding and follow-up on the distribution of funds that is reflective of the level of the amount granted.

When do I find out about the outcome of my application?

In general, for Small Grants, you should find out within 2 weeks of your application being submitted. For the Medium to Large Grants, this might take 2 to 4 weeks. It is important to note that incomplete forms may further delay the outcome of your application.

Can I apply more than once in a year?

Yes, you can apply more than once in a year however if your application is successful you cannot apply again for at least six months afterwards from the date when notice of your successful outcome was sent to you. You will need to complete your event, initiative or project for which you received funding for and submit your accountability report-back that satisfactorily meets the Ministry’s standards before you can re-apply. Again, this is to ensure that a broad and diverse range of applicants from across Aotearoa can access this fund but at the same time recognises the need to be flexible and mindful of building and maintaining momentum and maximising the impact of events, initiatives and projects throughout the year.

Can I apply for other funding provided by the Ministry even if I am successful in this one?

Yes, you can apply for funding through the Ministry’s other funding and sponsorship schemes even if you are successful in this one. However, you will need to ensure that your application is aligned with the priorities and meets the criteria of those schemes, which may differ from this one or may not include languages. In some cases, due to the volume of applications the Ministry receives across all its funding schemes, priority will be given to those who have not received any funding from the Ministry or have not received funding for some time.  

Why is this funding program a pilot how long is it? And what is the purpose of the evaluation?

The pilot, which will run for 12 months from the launch date of 26 November 2019 is to ensure that this program is robust, fit for purpose and sustainable when it is rolled out in full and as part of business-as-usual. The evaluation findings will be used to refine this funding program.

What happens after the pilot trial?

The evaluation findings will help inform and refine this funding program before if is rolled out as part of business as usual in 2021. All information relating to this funding program will be updated to reflect this revised and updated change, if any, and will be communicated through the Ministry’s usual communications channels including its website.

Is the information including application forms available in Pacific languages?

No. For the pilot, all information is only available in English. If you require support on this, please do not hesitate to contact us at the details below. In future, we may have the information and application forms available in Pacific languages. This will be assessed as part of the evaluation.

How do I apply?

Applications are currently on hold, check back in April 2020 to apply.

If you want additional information please email [email protected]