To grow and strengthen the creative arts and culture within the Rotorua District

In 1986, H K Heaton Ltd were seeking a worthy cause to which the company could make a monetary contribution to mark the completion of 50 years of business in Rotorua.

On the suggestion of the (then) Mayor, John Keaney and (then) Deputy Mayor Johnny Lepper, it was decided to set up a trust to be named the Rotorua Civic Arts Trust (RCAT) with an initial donation of $50,000 from H K Heaton Ltd.

It was considered that the Trust, which would aim at assisting people to develop their artistic talents, would be of considerable benefit to the community.

Incorporated on the 14 April 1989, the Trust’s first chairman was Mayor John Keaney and the Foundation Trustees were John Heaton and Tony Hill. Subsequently, Raewyn Saville, Rosemary Michie and Barry Smith were appointed as Trustees with Barry Smith later taking over the chair on the retirement of John Keaney.

At the formation of the Trust, it was appreciated that the resources held would not, independently, satisfy the growing need for Arts funding in the District. With the establishment of the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust (RECT), talks were held in 1997 where an agreement was reached for funding to be provided by the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and for the Rotorua Civic Arts Trust to be responsible for processing smaller applications up to $5,000 maximum.