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Tributes flow for Helen Clark on The Big Idea

Tributes flow for Helen Clark on The Big Idea

Tributes for Helen Clark, former Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, have flowed into The Big Idea, from arts leaders and the creative community including:

New Zealand String Quartet manager and former Creative NZ Chief Executive Elizabeth Kerr, former Creative NZ chair Peter Biggs, former New Zealand Film Commission Chief Executive Ruth Harley, musician Mike Chunn, musician Moana Maniapoto, actor Bruce Hopkins, Auckland Festival Director David Malacari, Tempo director Mary Jane O’Reilly, Auckland Art Gallery director Chris Saines, Diana Fenwick QSO, and author Rachael King.

The Big Idea – Te Aria Nui – is an online community for more than 17,000 creative practitioners, producers and organisations. We provide fresh updates daily on everything you need to know to be a networked and informed member of the creative industries in New Zealand today.

Read the tributes so far and add your own.

The tributes will be delivered to Helen Clark next week.

Summarised sample of quotes:

“Filmmaking is a notoriously risky business and Helen always trusted that the Commission and the sector would manage the issues. She attended nearly all the premieres and always spoke passionately and humorously about her love of film. Helen Clark has been an outstanding Prime Minister of New Zealand and certainly our most committed and successful Minister for the Arts.” - Ruth Harley | former Chief Executive New Zealand Film Commission

“Your commitment to the arts was real leadership and contributed enormously to the growth in support for the arts from other places, including the corporate sector and the public. As Prime Minister you led an increasingly inclusive society. As Arts Minister you led an increasingly diverse and exciting arts sector, one able to carve out a unique place on the world stage.”- Elizabeth Kerr | New Zealand String Quartet, former Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand

“I was Chair of the Arts Council for almost all of the years Helen was Prime Minister and Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage. It was a time of explosive confidence within the arts sector in New Zealand and a period when the country championed, and embraced the value of, creativity. So much of this was due to Helen's personal advocacy for the arts and her government's support through on-going and significant investment in the sector. For the arts, those were marvelous years and we learned the trick of standing upright.” - Peter Biggs

“Our music tradition is very young. But it is now real and respected and that was kick-started by the Helen Clark government that came to power in 1999. As Director of NZ Operations for APRA and then CEO of the Play It Strange Trust, I was acutely aware of how Helen and her team focused on the vibrancy and proliferation of our own music.” – Mike Chunn

“Helen Clark, as Minister for Arts and Culture, has made the arts important, but more significantly perhaps, has helped make them visible, to be able to stand up amongst the work from other countries. Thanks largely to Labour government, people like me, and other members of my family, have been able to pursue a creative career.

One of the proudest moments of my life was watching my father Michael King receive one of the inaugural Prime Minister's Awards for Literary achievement. I'm sure it was also one of his proudest moments as well. That award recognises the importance of the work of people who have contributed so much to our country over the years for very little financial reward.” - Rachael King

“The beating heart of any modern progressive society lies in its arts and culture. As a lens to translate the lessons of the past, and to foresee the innovations and ideas to help shape our future, we use the arts. Arts and culture also enables our diverse society to engage and build bridges to a more harmonious intercultural future. PM Helen Clark has been a tireless supporter of the arts over the last decade, and with her help we have seen the door to NZ culture opened to the Globe – for this, those of us in the arts community, are eternally grateful.” - Gareth Farry | British Council, NZ Business Manager

“Helen, when you undertook the portfolio for arts, culture and heritage, the arts gained a wonderful advocate as well as huge mana and respect. The sector moved off ‘the back pages’ of people’s consciousness to sit at the forefront of contributing to the soul, identity and economy of the country.” - Helen Schamroth ONZM BSD FDINZ

“Why are we drawn to the arts and what do they provide us with? This is a much-debated topic of course, and the answers range from providing tourist dollars through generating critical debate to creating spiritual uplift. It can be hard to argue for support of the arts when the economic outlook is gloomy, but a country without them to me is truly bankrupt. Personally, I want to thank the outgoing Government for making this country a much more interesting, vibrant and liveable place over the last decade.” – Filmmaker Annie Goldson.


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