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Creative NZ Makes Long-Term Investment In Arts

Creative New Zealand makes
long-term investment in arts

The one-off $20 million funding injection to Creative New Zealand from the Government will focus on initiatives that will have long-term benefits for New Zealand arts and artists, Creative New Zealand’s Council has decided.

The funding will assist Creative New Zealand, the national arts development organisation, to stabilise professional arts organisations, and boost Maori arts, individual artists and arts in the regions over the next three years.

Creative New Zealand Chair Peter Biggs said the organisation’s Post-Election Briefing Paper, prepared in November for the incoming Labour Government, highlighted a number of sector concerns - particularly the fragility of the arts infrastructure.

“The Government’s funding injection is a fantastic beginning and we are very aware of Helen Clark’s words to use it wisely,” Mr Biggs said.

He stressed that the $20 million (incl. GST) was a one-off lump sum to be spread over the next three years. This equates to $17.8 million (excl. GST) – or approximately $6 million for each of the three years.

“Helen Clark described the funding as a cultural recovery package and expressed her concern at the fragility of the arts infrastructure,” Mr Biggs said. “Stabilising professional arts organisations is crucial to ensuring a healthy arts sector.

“Once this happens, organisations will be in a better position to take greater artistic risks and push boundaries, something that’s vital if our arts are to continue developing in new and exciting directions.”

Council is meeting in July to discuss further priorities and how best to strengthen existing programmes.

In the first year of its three-year strategy, Creative New Zealand’s priorities are:

 a Future Strengths strategy over three years to support the professional arts infrastructure, with $3.2 million funding in its first year

 a Seriously Maori strategy over three years to benefit Maori artists, iwi and Maori authorities and to profile Maori arts nationwide, with $1.7 million funding in its first year

 a Regional Strengths strategy over three years to support larger arts initiatives spanning district boundaries, with $510,000 funding in its first year.

A Fellowships scheme will be launched later in the year to acknowledge the role and contribution of individual artists. Along with Creative New Zealand’s international artist residency programme, the fellowships will provide opportunities for artists to practise their art over a sustained period of time. A limited amount of money will also be available to boost project funding.

Mr Biggs said the Government’s recent funding package to the arts and cultural sector was a wonderful recognition of the value and potential of our artists and their art. However, he wanted to make it clear there would not be enough money for everyone to do everything they wanted. He did not want to fuel expectations that large amounts of money were going to be handed out for all sorts of projects.

“For years, the arts infrastructure has been seriously underfunded and there’s a lot of work to be done,” he said. “We have had to prioritise our spending and invest in areas that urgently needed sustenance and growth.

“Council believes that the greatest need right now is to stabilise the arts infrastructure so we can all move forward from a solid foundation.”

Investment in the professional arts infrastructure

Creative New Zealand will invest $3.2 million in the first year of its Future Strengths strategy. In 2000/2001, its priority is to stabilise and strengthen existing arts infrastructure, and enable a small number of emerging organisations to receive annual grants.

Creative New Zealand currently funds 31 professional arts organisations on an annual or multi-year basis (i.e. they are “recurrently funded”). These include theatre and opera companies, regional orchestras and experimental galleries, along with national service organisations such as Arts Access Aotearoa, Playmarket and the New Zealand National Youth Choir.

In one year, these 31 organisations have audiences totalling more than one million people and must raise more than 70 per cent of their annual revenue from fees, ticket sales and sponsorships.

“Over the years, the tenacity and commitment of these organisations has been nothing short of extraordinary,” Mr Biggs said. “But severe financial constraints have sometimes resulted in safer programming, less risk-taking and a conservative repertoire.”

Mr Biggs said that Creative New Zealand had made a case to the Government for additional funding to address these constraints and ensure a greater diversity of voices among its recurrently funded arts organisations.

“We need to recognise and support emerging arts organisations that reflect the diversity of contemporary arts practice and cultures within New Zealand,” Mr Biggs said.

“The challenge now is to work with the arts sector and ensure that in three years’ time New Zealand has a much healthier and stronger professional arts infrastructure.”
Investment in Maori arts

In response to consultation with Maori, Creative New Zealand will invest $1.7 million in the first year of its three-year Seriously Maori strategy. This strategy will benefit Maori artists, iwi and Maori authorities. It will also help address three pressing issues for Maori arts:

 the need to protect Maori intellectual and cultural property rights

 the need for iwi and Maori authorities to develop arts management plans

 the need to profile Maori arts and culture to all New Zealanders.

For the past two years, Te Waka Toi has been discussing branding issues with Maori artists and government agencies. Consequently, a brand denoting authenticity and quality, akin to the Wool Mark, will now be developed.

“This brand will provide direct economic benefits to artists when people become aware that the branded artworks represent distinction and quality,” said Elizabeth Ellis, Chair of Te Waka Toi (the Maori arts board of Creative New Zealand).

Another strand of the Seriously Maori strategy is funding to help iwi and Maori authorities develop and implement arts management plans. These plans will be aimed at preserving and developing heritage arts.

In 1996, Te Waka Toi initiated marae-based workshops and these iwi arts management plans will be a follow-on from this initiative.

At least 30 arts management plans will be developed over the three years. Plans developed in the first year of the strategy will form best practice models for subsequent plans in the second and third years.

In the second year of the Seriously Maori strategy, Creative New Zealand will undertake a major initiative profiling Maori arts and culture. The aim of this initiative is to increase awareness and understanding among New Zealanders of the unique role and value of Maori arts to this country.

“Te Waka Toi is simply echoing what Maori throughout New Zealand are saying,” Elizabeth Ellis said. “Let’s ensure that Maori arts and culture are valued in all sectors of society.”

Support for the regions

The three-year Regional Strengths strategy will support larger arts initiatives spanning district boundaries, with $510,000 funding in the first year. Pilot schemes in selected regions will be developed to provide increased opportunities for these cross-boundary projects. For instance, several districts may work in partnership to present regional festivals, hui, arts and craft trails, or arts marketing initiatives.

This will build on the Creative Communities Scheme, a partnership between Creative New Zealand and all 74 local authorities supporting arts in the community.

“Regional Strengths is about local authorities and communities working together on ideas and projects,” Mr Biggs said. “This means that more people will have greater access to a broader range of arts that reflect the regions’ interests.”

In 1998, Creative New Zealand conducted a review of the Creative Communities Scheme. The review, plus consultation with communities, revealed the gap in current funding to regional arts. Regional Strengths will help address the gap.


Along with this press release, we have included one-page backgrounds on each of the strategies and a list of Frequently Asked Questions posted on our website. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call:

Penelope Borland
Communications and Advocacy Manager
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 04 498 0723
025-534 177

Peter Biggs
Creative New Zealand
Tel: 021 442 943

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