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Nelson’s Arts Strategy Gets Funding Boost

He Tātai Whetū, Nelson’s Arts and Creativity Strategy, has benefitted from an injection of funding for a Te Tauihutanga Design and Identity Project and a new Arts Development Agency.

These are two of the cornerstone projects in the Strategy, which was approved by Council in August 2022. Council subsequently agreed to ringfence some of the government Better Off Funding it was allocated to bring the strategy to life.

Arts Council Nelson has received the first tranche of the $150,000 set aside to support its transition into an independent arts development agency. The agency will be equipped to advocate for the arts and artists, attract investment opportunities, and develop relationships with the wider business sector like construction and tourism.

The first installment of the $500,000 allocated for the Te Tauihutanga project has also been received. The project will be led by all eight Te Tauihu iwi and facilitate the expression of Toi Māori in the design of Nelson’s buildings, public spaces and artworks. Funding will directly contribute to the design, execution and installation of Toi Māori public artworks and developing the creative capabilities of Māori to deliver these projects.

Deputy Mayor Rohan O’Neill-Stevens says the funding will enable Nelson's arts sector to fully realise its potential.

“Our arts community has long expressed the need for a single point of contact where artists can seek advice and opportunities, develop their craft and capabilities, network, and interface with the wider community.

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“Creating the He Tātai Whetū was an important first step, but now the real magic happens as these projects spring off the page and into reality,” he says.

Arts Council Nelson Chair Sophie Kelly says they are thrilled to have the backing of Council to help them transition into an arts development agency.

“The proposed new agency will help us further support the creative sector, champion the interests of local artists and creative projects in the region and help strengthen the artistic and cultural life of our communities.”

Pouwhakahaere Chief Executive of Te Ātiawa o te Waka-a-Māui Justin Carter says He Tātai Whetū is the first time that iwi have endorsed an arts and creativity strategy for the city.

“We did so because it recognised the historical neglect of Toi Māori and sought to return our stories to the built environment of Whakatū,” he says.

"We welcome this strategic and timely investment to give effect to that work as we prepare to host Te Matatini in 2027. It will enable us to leverage and deliver a wide range of opportunities to enhance our collective sense of place and belonging."

Better Off funding was provided to local councils for their part in the Three Waters reform process.

Other projects earmarked for Better Off funding, some of which are already underway, include the development of a new city centre playspace at Rutherford Park, lighting the Railway Reserve, developing iwi engagement capacity and a new winter creative tourism event.

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