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Wellington Orchestra escapes the axe

Wellington Orchestra escapes the axe

Vector Wellington Orchestra has escaped a threatened funding cut that would have trimmed more than $200,000 from its annual budget and reduced it to community orchestra status.

Creative New Zealand announced yesterday that the orchestra would continue to receive its current level of funding for the next two years.

The decision comes at the end of a review of arts sector funding initiated by Creative New Zealand in 2010.

The VWO raised questions about the review process amid concern that its major funding body was aiming for a predetermined result.

“If the cut had gone ahead there would have been devastating effects on the Wellington arts sector, and the orchestral sector in New Zealand”, said VWO General Manager Diana Marsh. “Besides presenting our own concerts, other Wellington arts bodies rely on us to provide a professional orchestra for opera, ballet and choir performances in Wellington,” Marsh says.

“This is a great win. Wellington got in behind the orchestra in a big way, and we are now in a stronger position for the future.”

There will be a review of the entire orchestral sector next year, but it will be carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

VWO board chair, Alick Shaw said “We proposed this review to CNZ in our first meeting after they announced the new funding arrangements. It took far too long for them to accept that this type of investigation was needed and we all endured a year of needless conflict and compromised relationships within the sector. That should never have happened.

“This review is the critical element of our agreement with CNZ, not just for the VWO but for all of the regional orchestras as it secured our funding in the interim. Most importantly we will all be consulted in developing terms of reference and membership of the panel. This will ensure an open process and an informed outcome.

“Everyone should understand that our board and management did not over-react. The fight back was crucial in securing our future. Our continued funding has resulted from an agreement between the VWO and CNZ, not just a change of heart. We are grateful to all our members and friends for their support”.


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