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Creative New Zealand Calls On Aotearoa – Share Your Thanks For Ngā Toi (the Arts)

Creative New Zealand today, 17 April, launched a national advocacy campaign to highlight and celebrate that right now, in bubbles nationwide, the arts are making COVID-19 lockdown a better place to be.

Ngā toi (the arts) are crucial for New Zealanders’ wellbeing, especially during a time of crisis. Whether it’s reading a book, watching a film, creating a tivaevae, jamming to a dance track, or a whānau crafting session—the arts are doing what they always do: bringing joy, laughter, tears, comfort, inspiration, hope and curiosity.

Creative New Zealand has seen the abundance of creative mahi and resources surfacing during these extraordinary times and is responding with a four-week national arts advocacy campaign. Released today, ‘Thankful for Art’ aims to bring public attention to the value of the arts, during lockdown and beyond. The campaign is part of the Creative New Zealand’s advocacy response to the COVID-19 crisis, and follows closely the opening of its $16 million Emergency Response Package earlier this week (providing financial support to artists, arts practitioners and arts organisations, including collectives and groups, affected by COVID-19).

Creative New Zealand says it’s time to show the arts some love and is inviting all New Zealanders to participate in ‘Thankful for Art’ by sharing their favourite art works and reasons they’re thankful for art, using social media channels, and connecting with the campaign by using the hashtag #TFA.

Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright says, “Can you imagine lockdown with no books, film, music, dance or images? We’re seeing New Zealanders turn to the arts to get them through this difficult time, so we’re amping up our efforts to connect the dots and ensure a broad cross-section of New Zealanders realise the value the arts are bringing to their lives right now. Our incredible arts community has taken a huge knock – it needs all the aroha and support we can give.”

To kick off ‘Thankful for Art’, high profile and everyday New Zealanders appear in a video created virtually celebrating the power of art and creativity during lockdown. Familiar faces include comedian Rose Matafeo; international choreographer Parris Goebel; visual artist Wayne Youle; Silver Ferns’ captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio; scientist Dr Siouxsie Wiles; opera singer Pene Pati; two generations of the Harcourt/McKenzie family (actors Miranda, Thomasin and Davy); filmmaker Jackie van Beek, comedian Jesse Griffin and their son Emmett; writers Selina Tusitala Marsh, Chris Tse and Tina Makereti; and a cat (internet sensation Gingerbread, the creation of comedian Tom Sainsbury), with a soundtrack by Tama Waipara, featuring guitar by Anna Coddington.

Directed by Loren Taylor, the campaign video encourages people to visit, where more information on the campaign can be found, including bios and links to the artists and supporters involved.

Michael Moynahan, Chair of Creative New Zealand’s governing body, the Arts Council, says, “Where would we be without art? This is a really important time to recognise how integral the arts and creativity are to our daily experience. We’re delighted to have the support of New Zealand artists around the globe, contributing to the campaign from their homes to ours.”

Over the coming weeks, Creative New Zealand will also be sharing works created for the campaign during the lockdown by artists from Aotearoa, who represent a range of artforms and diverse backgrounds.

Creative New Zealand will also post regular social media updates sharing ways people can engage with, support or participate in the arts.

Campaign concept and management by creative agency Double Denim.

Video (YouTube):

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