As charity fund-raiser extraordinaire, Dame Rosie Horton is living proof that shaking down the rich is something best left to their own kind. So who better than newly knighted arts patron James Wallace to celebrate his honouring by pointing the blow torch at the nouveau riche, telling them it was about time they started sharing some of their cash with the community that made them who they are.

That his comments came as the new 77m superyacht of New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart, moored for the first time at Auckland's Wynyard Wharf, couldn't have been more timely.

We're not told how much the Weta, Mr Hart's latest toy, is worth, just that it's a third longer than his previous flagship, the $100 million Ulysses. Which puts it in the same price range, one would guess, as the rebuild of Auckland's public art gallery.

Sir James' concern is about who will follow his generation's footsteps as patrons of his special interest - arts and culture.

He hoped his award "encourages others to support the arts in particular, especially financially". He said a basic group of his contemporaries had been supporting the theatre, opera and ballet "so well" but "we are all getting older".

He said "we don't seem to be succeeded by new generations and yet many professionals and business people are very wealthy. They don't seem to [be] following the example and it is a worry".

Sir James' comments will assist Arts Minister Chris Finlayson's own crusade to improve arts patronage. In September 2009 he created a "cultural philanthropy taskforce" to recommend ways of increasing giving by private individuals to arts and cultural institutions, "over and above - not instead of - government funding". On the taskforce were prominent givers Dame Jenny Gibbs, Dayle Mace and Dr Robyn Congreve.

Their report, "Growing the Pie", presented in December, suggested targeting more than just rich individuals. They quoted Creative New Zealand's research that "engaging with the corporate sector might be the most viable source of funding growth for arts organisations". Also, from Britain came evidence "that most support from individuals came not from the wealthiest but from the 'restaurant-rich': those who earn a reasonable but not necessarily large amount and have some discretionary income to eat out and to support worthwhile causes".

They also highlighted a lack of expertise, on both sides, in the courtship process. "Many cultural organisations struggle with how to source private support, how 'to make the ask'." In a survey of 480 cultural organisations, of the 56 per cent who received no corporate support, most had not asked for it. The same went for the 38 per cent who received no individual donations. Half the organisations did not even know if they had donee status, without which they cannot claim tax relief on donations.

"Having donee status and promoting this to potential donors, is critical to organisations attracting private support."

Similarly, on the other side, "potential and willing philanthropists may be unsure of who to support, how to find a cultural organisation that is a good 'fit"'.

In other words, it might pay for both sides to learn to be a bit more pushy. This is the substance of the first recommendation, a small team of government-funded fund-raising experts to train cultural organisations in the dark art of extracting money painlessly.

As for the tax environment, the taskforce praises it as as good as any in the world for those who want to give, citing "the ability [now] for individuals to claim a tax credit for one-third of all donations they make up to the level of their annual taxable income".

What's lacking is public awareness of its benefits.

"The taskforce is convinced individuals and organisations need to be made more aware of the favourable tax regime that exists ... in regard to charitable giving."

It also wants increased publicity about payroll giving, where individuals can have regular donations deducted through PAYE and receive the tax benefits instantly.

The taskforce also calls for greater public recognition of "the contribution of significant individual and corporate supporters of the cultural sector", which "could encourage new philanthropists to step forward".

This left me flummoxed. What form this greater recognition would take is not outlined. After knighthoods and dameships and heartfelt public expressions of gratitude, what else does a small democracy have to offer?

The taskforce also proposes a system of "matched funding" in which the Government proposes a contribution that would depend on the ability of the recipient organisation to raise an equivalent amount privately. And vice versa. The only concern here is that over time, governments would start tagging more and more of their funding along these lines.

One thing the report steers clear of is the element of duty the rich have to the community which made them wealthy. Sir James touched on this when he talked of certain rich people, not "into philanthropy" but instead, "immersed in their own lives and their own wealth".

It's not the sort of thing a ministerial task force could rightly raise. But coming from one of their own, it's nice to think it could be a nudge as powerful as any official report.