A national organisation that supports contemporary Māori artists says there is a belief that Creative New Zealand has no will to support quality Māori theatre in Wellington.
Well-known performing artists, including actor and theatre director Jim Moriarty, say many Māori performing artists are leaving the capital as a result of the dwindling funding.
Mr Moriarty said he received no funding for a quartet of plays that will be performed at Te Papa Tongarewa from next year and the project will have at least $10,000 of debt by opening night.
Māori Arts New Zealand general manager Garry Nicholas said Mr Moriarty was highlighting a wider concern about funding from the major arts funder, Creative New Zealand.
Mr Nicholas said there was no box office insurance available to Māori theatre, and for people such as Mr Moriarty to be in that situation was a worry for all working in the Wellington creative sector.
In a statement, Creative New Zealand said it welcomed further discussion with tangata whenua to talk about their needs and aspirations for Māori theatre and for performing arts in the region.