Arts Grants

We’ve long been a champion of art and culture in Masterton. Through support for artists, art education and exhibition space, we aim to create a vibrant town and share stories of Wairarapa.

In 2002 we built a modern, dedicated arts facility – Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History in Bruce Street.  More than 20 years on, it continues to enrich the arts and cultural life of Masterton.

We invest in public art – through murals and sculpture. These are a way to bring art to the people, freely accessible to all. Public art can connect communities, help shape identity and create a sense of place and belonging.

Our investment in Murals for Masterton reflect the region’s natural features – the five rivers, the Tararuas, and native  flora and fauna.

Learn more about Murals for Masterton.

Visit public art in Masterton.

Sculpture – Distant Chant Waiata Tawhiti

In 2023, a sculpture by Wairarapa artist Sean Crawford was commissioned by the Trust for the people of Masterton. Located in the town’s Arts Precinct on the corner of Queen and Bruce Streets, Distant Chant features two laser cut corten steel panels with a pair of huia emerging.

Artist statement:

“Distant Chant echoes the voices of Whakaoriori/Masterton – from its pre-settlement valley filled with the chorus of birdsong to the gentle waiata joining the sound of flowing water. The ordered, patchwork pattern of the interior wall section is a reference to the ‘Small Farms Association’, with its cut-out huia bird design mirroring the check-board plains that surround Masterton.


As a town grows, the chant of habitation changes its pitch – old sounds fade and new sounds start to resonate. These voices continue their stories in this sculpture, as the uniform wall pattern suggests the ordered structure of development. This pattern is representative of these sounds of change, and the surrounding land giving way to European settlement.


Within this work the emerging huia (the echo of the lost chant) becomes the emblematic force. By bringing all these historical sounds into the present, the huia becomes a representation of a united community voice. It links the fabric of the past with beak raised and wing ready on currents of air, and in doing so, the past comes into the present. Thus, this beautiful but now extinct creature reminds us to be mindful of the past whilst also having an eye to the future.”

Ongoing arts support

We’re proud of our enduring support for the arts and investment in artists. We support local artists and provide exhibition space through concessional rent grants to Aratoi, ConArt and Hau Kāinga (an arts and culture gallery).

Each year, we offer an annual MTLT Art Scholarship to Wairarapa’s top art scholar to support their tertiary education in an arts-related course.

Further support for arts and culture is provided annually through community grants where funding is available to non-profit community groups to deliver art and cultural programmes and events in Masterton.

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Grant Stories

Ara Toi: Pathways to Art

Ara Toi: Pathways to Art

Becky from Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art & History speaks with MTLT Trustee Bex Johnson about public art and the Trust’s Murals for Masterton project.

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Murals for Masterton

Murals for Masterton

Watch this short video to hear mural artists FLOX, Sean Duffell, Lotte Hawley and duo Pip & Zoe Paint talk about their artworks for Masterton. 

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Masterton gets a fresh lick of paint

Masterton gets a fresh lick of paint

Masterton has received a new lick of paint, thanks to mural artists from across Aotearoa gathering to freshen up its walls. The project conceived by Masterton Trust Lands Trust (MTLT) called on renowned artists including FLOX, Sean Duffell, Lotte...

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