News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Using the arts to rejuvenate Christchurch

Using the arts to rejuvenate Christchurch

Following the catastrophic earthquakes in Christchurch people from all over the country mobilised to help their fellow New Zealanders in their time of need.

Amongst those support teams were a group of academics from University of Auckland who introduced their Creative Responses in Schools programme to young Christchurch students. The team, led by Associate Professor Peter O’Connor from the School of Critical Studies in Education, used the arts to help students reimagine positive and hope filled futures.

Over a number of visits the team, along with local artists and mental health workers, further developed the programme to include music, dance and arts based processes which actively engage with the children and focussed on bringing dreams back to life.

Subsequently over 600 children have experienced the programme directly and over 70 teachers have been trained to use these arts processes.

Following this initial success the Mental Health Foundation, along with the University of Auckland, the Christchurch Trust, Learning Through the Arts and UNESCO, are proud to support the programme’s return to Christchurch schools throughout terms three and four.

“Creative Responses in Schools is an extremely practical way of using the arts to help the young people of Christchurch deal with the changes that have been happening in their local environment, build back their hope and give them some magic in their day” says Judi Clements, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation.

The 90 minute workshops will see classes of thirty 5 to 9 year old children painting, drawing, dancing and making small pieces of theatre as they imaginatively and artistically reimagine the future for not only themselves but for Christchurch.

More information on the programme can be found at

For a description of the work to date and to see the work that children have created visit

- ENDS -

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland