NZCT funding

In February 2020, the Government agreed to combine the two NZCT Funds, the National Cycleway Fund and the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund, into an annual appropriation of $8 million for the maintenance, development and promotion of NZCT.

The new appropriation is called the Ngā Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trails Fund (NZCT Fund).

The NZCT Fund makes funding available to organisations who manage Great Rides for:

  • Major enhancements and extensions to existing Great Rides by means of a comprehensive business case application process
  • Minor enhancements and maintenance projects on existing Great Rides up to $300,000 with matching co-funding by means of an annual competitive funding round (opening in August each year)
  • Extreme event recovery works on Great Rides to reopen and repair sections of trail that have been damaged by extreme events such as storm damage, fire, flooding or single event vandalism
  • Funding for Great Ride trail managers and some of the trails’ operational costs (up to $45,000 per Great Ride per annum)
  • Operational funding for Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Incorporated. Annual funding of $250,000 is provided to NZCT Inc. for operational costs.

Details of NZCT funding and how to apply

Funding for Major Enhancements to existing Great Rides

The application process for major enhancements and extensions to existing Great Rides (for projects seeking over $300,000 of NZCT funding) is as follows. The Fund is open to Great Ride governance organisations.

Eligible organisations must complete a 3-stage application process:

Stage 1

Organisations must develop and present a plan. This is a 10-year vision for developing each Great Ride, broken into different phases and projects. This stage has been completed by all Great Rides, and organisations should regularly update their 10-year vision and plan.

Stage 2

Stage 2 requires preparation and approval of a business case. The business case must provide evidence of the benefits of the programme or project for a Great Ride. These benefits should be delivered over a 3- to 4-year time frame for funding to be approved. Applicants must use the approved template for the business case. Templates are available from MBIE.

Stage 3

Stage 3 requires delivery and approval of an implementation plan. This is a detailed project plan for delivering the preferred solution for each project. A template is available from MBIE.

See the list of NZCT funding recipients

Annual funding round for minor enhancements and maintenance for the Great Rides

The NZCT Fund provides for one funding round a year for minor enhancements and maintenance to existing Great Rides. Maximum funding available to Great Rides through this annual funding round is $300,000 with matching co-funding required from the applicant. Full details of the fund, including eligibility criteria are provided in the Guidelines for applicants. Applications should be submitted on the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides application form.

Who can apply?

The Fund is open to Great Rides governance organisations that are:

  • part of Ngā Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail
  • full members of New Zealand Cycle Trail Incorporated (NZCT Inc).

The trail must:

  • have been approved for opening by MBIE and NZCT Inc
  • hold approved Great Ride status, as provided by the Minister of Tourism.

Eligible projects

During a funding round, the Fund accepts applications for projects to help improve or maintain completed sections of Great Rides.

Applications must be for well-defined projects that:

  • can be delivered within agreed time frames and deadlines
  • will take no more than 6 months to complete
  • are ready for construction, and
  • have all required land access and resource consent permissions approved.

Applications should not be submitted if projects are still in the planning phase.

Funding can't be used to extend Great Rides beyond start and/or end points that have been approved by MBIE and NZCT Inc.

The annual funding round doesn't help with building of new trails or the expansion of the New Zealand Cycle Trail network.

Matched funding

Successful projects are jointly funded by MBIE and an eligible Great Rides organisation.

The organisation must be able to provide at least 50% of the total cost of the project. This is known as matched funding.

There is no limit on the amount of funding an organisation contributes to the project above the 50% minimum.

The maximum amount of government funding available for a project is $300,000.

The minimum amount of government funding available for a project is $10,000. Applying the 50% matched funding requirement, this means the minimum cost of a project must be $20,000.


The matched funding requirement can be waived, but only in exceptional circumstances where an extreme event means immediate or time-based action is required. This may include but is not limited to situations such as:

  • storm damaged
  • single-event vandalism
  • fire
  • flooding.

If an organisation can't provide the required matched funding for a project, MBIE may consider in-kind funding of up to 25% of the total project instead.

Application Assessment panel

Applications are assessed by a panel that makes recommendations to the Chief Executive of MBIE, or their delegate.

MBIE appoints the panel, which includes:

  • the Chair of NZCT Inc or their representative
  • a cycle trail technical expert
  • representatives from the Department of Conservation, Waka Kotahi and MBIE.

Extreme event recovery works

There is scope within the NZCT Fund for funding to assist Great Ride governance organisation to repair damage caused by extreme events. This may include but is not limited to situations including:

  • storm damage
  • single-event vandalism
  • fire
  • flooding.

Extreme events applications must be submitted on the approved template.

See the list of funding recipients for minor enhancements, maintenance, and extreme events funding

Funding for trail managers and operational costs

Up to $1 million per annum of the NZCT Fund is ring-fenced to co-fund the employment of trail managers and meet some operational costs of the Great Rides. This allocation makes available up to $45,000 annually for each Great Ride to help co-fund trail managers and operational expenses for three years, thereby ensuring there is a dedicated trail manager working for at least 20 hours per week to look after each trail.

The first round of applications for MGR operational funding was approved in April 2020. All twenty-two Great Rides applied for and have been approved a grant of $135,000 each (i.e. $45,000 a year for three years) to fund the cost of trail manager and other operational costs, conditional on annual reporting and other requirements specific to each Great Ride.

Funding for Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Incorporated

The NZCT Fund provides annual operational funding of $250,000 for Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Incorporated (NZCT Inc.). NZCT Inc. is the national membership body for the Great Rides.

Last updated: 07 September 2021