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Speech: Hasler - Arts Foundation Launch

SPEECH NOTES
HON MARIE HASLER
LAUNCH OF THE ARTS FOUNDATION
GOVERNMENT HOUSE, WELLINGTON
5.30PM, THURSDAY JULY 29, 1999


Your Excellencies, the Governor General and Lady Hardie Boys, my Parliamentary colleagues and distinguished guests, good evening.

It is an honour for me to be here at one of the first official functions in my new role as Minister for Culture and Heritage, and also because I have the pleasurable task of presenting a very large cheque to the Arts Foundation.

As many of you will be aware, last night I announced the details of the new Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

The Ministry will ensure a more coordinated approach to cultural and heritage objectives and see greater promotion and protection of our distinctive national identity.

These changes represent a significant upgrading of the priority given to culture and heritage by this Government and means we will, for the first time, be able to take a strategic overview of the culture and heritage sector. The Government now has a strong platform on which to base further thinking about how it can most effectively protect and support our culture and heritage, now and in the future.

Culture is not a secondary matter. Ultimately culture is the way we understand ourselves. A society that fails to understand itself will be unable to act coherently on any problems facing it. The future of New Zealand society depends on how we will understand ourselves, and our cultural agenda will underpin that self-understanding,

We are fortunate in New Zealand to have our arts and cultural sector supported both by the public and private sector.

Patronage of the arts has always been a valuable and viable way of ensuring our cultural history is sustained and recorded for future generations.

Creative New Zealand began the patronage initiative in order to encourage a union of private, corporate and public support which together breeds a healthy cultural sector.

I am pleased to note the Foundation stands for excellence in all the arts, and is unrestricted by particular art forms, ethnicity or social grouping.

Unfortunately, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Jack Elder, is unable to be here tonight but he has asked me to bring along the cheque for one million dollars to hand over to the Foundation.

Mr Elder is Chairman of the Lottery Grants Board and it is through the Board's commitment of $5 million to the Foundation that this dream to establish the Arts Foundation has become a reality.

The Foundation had its origins back in late 1996 when Creative New Zealand appointed a working party to identify ways of substantially increasing private financial input to the arts sector.

Two years later the Arts Foundation was born with the ultimate goal of establishing an endowment fund of $100 million.

In some ways the new Foundation is modeled on the Sports Foundation with two ingredients replicated Sir Ron Scott and some healthy seeding funding by the Lottery Grants Board.

I'm sure Sir Ron acknowledges that the Sports Foundation would have still been struggling without the impetus the Lottery Grants Board provided.

Now our high performing arts sector is serviced by a proactive Foundation with a breathtaking scope of vision provided by the impressive lineup of inaugural trustees.

Creative New Zealand sought funding for the Foundation from the Lottery Grants Board a year ago.

The $5 million pledged by the Board is over and above the money provided annually to Creative New Zealand from lottery funds. Creative New Zealand receives a guaranteed 15 per cent of lottery profits annually and currently the allocation is running at more than $20 million a year.

The earnings from the $5 million Lottery capital contribution will be used for purposes that are separate from and complementary to those of Creative New Zealand.

So it gives me very great pleasure to hand over, on behalf of the Minister of Internal Affairs and Lottery Grants Board, this second one million dollar installment to the Arts Foundation.

Thank you

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