Details of NZCT funding and how to apply

Information about the type of funding available and eligibility criteria.

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.

NZCT funding recipients

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

The NZCT Fund provides 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.

Applications for Round 15 are now closed.

Who can apply?

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

  • part of Ngā Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trails
  • full members of New Zealand Cycle Trails 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 Tourism Minister.

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 Trails 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.

Extreme event recovery works

The NZCT Fund has the scope to provide funding to Great Ride governance organisations 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.

In September 2021, funding was approved to support the following trails with repairs following weather-related damage:

  • Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail
  • Hauraki Rail Trail
  • Tasman Great Taste Trail
  • Queenstown Trail

NZCT funding recipients

Funding for Great Ride 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 22 Great Rides were 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.

NZCT funding recipients

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: 05 September 2022