Media release from the Taxpayers' Union



30 JANUARY 2015

The Taxpayers’ Union is releasing figures obtained from Creative NZ showing that author-turned-policy-critic, Eleanor Catton, has received tens of thousands of dollars worth of grants courtesy of New Zealand taxpayers. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

"In addition to the usual government support of students, Ms Catton has received special Creative NZ funding amounting to tens of thousands for her artistic endeavours. Far from not supporting the arts, it appears that taxpayers have been rather generous.

"Despite The Luminaries being a commercial success, taxpayers still paid for the book to be translated into three languages. If that's not generous support, what is?"

“We say again, if Ms Catton isn’t thankful for the support by the New Zealand Government while she wrote The Luminaries, maybe she should use some of the substantial royalties to pay the money back.”

$9,000: Writers Bursary for living expenses while writing The Luminaries

$5,000:  Arts Grant –to appear at the Vancouver International Writers Festival

$28,750: Arts Grant – to the University of Canterbury to support the Ursula Bethell Residency 2011 for creative writing. Eleanor Catton was one of two writers who undertook the residency in 2011.

International Travel Fund

$2000 to the Perth Writers Festival to support attendance by Eleanor Catton (and one other)

$3000 to attend the Edinburgh Writers Festival 

$1500 for a joint application by four Canadian literary festivals to have Eleanor Catton attend their events.  They were the Kingston Writers Festival, Eden Mills Literary Festival, Ottawa Literary Festival and the Thin Air Literary Festival

$3000 to the Adelaide Writers Week to support attendance by Eleanor Catton (and five others)

Translation Grants
$1500 for the translation of The Rehearsal into Spanish – made to one publisher in Spain

$6000 for the translation of The Luminaries into Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese – made to publishers in Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal ($2000 each).

Michael King Writers Centre
Eleanor Catton was one of four writers-in-residence at the University of Auckland Residency at the Michael King Writers' Centre in 2012. She worked on the final draft of her The Luminaries during her residency.   The residency programme is provided with support from Creative New Zealand and the University of Auckland.

Frankfurt International Book Fair 2011 – New Zealand Guest of Honour
Eleanor Catton was one of more than 60 New Zealand authors who were part of the New Zealand pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany in 2011.  New Zealand’s Guest of Honour appearance and pavilion were project managed by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.  All the New Zealand writers that featured were promoting a work in German translation and/or participating as invited authors in a range of German festivals and events or special Guest of Honour cultural exchanges and projects.

Taipei International Book Exhibition 2015 – New Zealand Guest of Honour
Eleanor Catton is one of 19 New Zealand writers who will be attending the Taipei International Book Exhibition in February 2015.  She is one of four New Zealand authors whose travel and accommodation was paid for by the Taipei Book Fair Foundation, as part of the Guest of Honour contract with PANZ.

Creative New Zealand has invested more than $100,000 in the project, over two financial years, and has contracted PANZ to project manage New Zealand’s presence at the fair.



Jordan Williams
021 762 542


The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is an independent activist group, dedicated to being the voice for Kiwi taxpayers in the corridors of power. It’s here to fight government waste and make sure New Zealanders get value for money from their tax dollar.

The Taxpayers’ Union operates a 24 hour media line for comment on taxpayer issues. Representatives are available on (04) 282 0302.

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