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Background To Creative NZ Funding Announcement

Background To This Announcement

Highlighting the issues to Government:

In November 1999, Creative New Zealand presented the incoming Government with its Post-Election Briefing Paper, which highlighted a number of major sector concerns - particularly the fragility of the existing professional arts infrastructure – and outlined strategies designed to address these issues.

The Government announces its cultural recovery package:

In May 2000, the Government announced a one-off $20 million funding injection to Creative New Zealand as part of its $86 million cultural recovery package.

Announcing the cultural recovery package, Prime Minister Helen Clark said: “In providing $20 million to Creative New Zealand immediately, we have a clear expectation that it will, in part, be directed towards the fragile performing arts infrastructure. The additional funding will enable Creative New Zealand to make multi-year commitments to key performing arts organisations, giving them unprecedented security of funding.”

The $20 million (incl. GST) is a one-off lump sum to be spread over the next three years. This equates to $17.8 million (excl. GST) – or just less than $6 million for each of the three years.

Creative New Zealand’s response:

Creative New Zealand Chair Peter Biggs described the new funding as a fantastic beginning but said Council would be working to ensure Government maintained this level of funding on a long-term basis – not just for three years.

Mr Biggs stressed that there would not be enough money for everyone to do everything they wanted. He did not want to fuel expectations that large amounts of money were going to be handed out for all sorts of projects.

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“Stabilising professional arts organisations is crucial to ensuring a healthy arts sector,” he said. “Once this happens, organisations will be in a better position to take greater artistic risks and push boundaries, something that’s vital if our arts are to continue developing in new and exciting directions.”

Creative New Zealand’s Future Strengths strategy is one of several key development strategies resulting from the cultural recovery package.

In June, Council decided that over the next three years the new funding would support the professional arts infrastructure, boost Maori arts and pilot schemes encouraging arts in the regions.

Council also agreed to allocate more modest resources to develop partnership strategies for creative industries, and further support the New Zealand Authors’ Fund.

Council’s priorities for the first year of its three-year strategy are:

 a Future Strengths strategy over three years to support the professional arts infrastructure, with $3.2 million funding in its first year
 a Seriously Maori strategy over three years to benefit Maori artists, iwi and Maori authorities and to profile Maori arts nationwide, with $1.7 million funding in its first year
 a Regional Strengths strategy over three years to support larger arts initiatives spanning district boundaries, with $510,000 funding in its first year.

“For years, the arts infrastructure has been seriously underfunded and there’s a lot of work to be done,” Peter Biggs said. “We have had to prioritise our spending and invest in areas that urgently need sustenance and growth.

“Council believes that the greatest need right now is to stabilise the arts infrastructure so we can all move forward from a solid foundation.”

Investment in the professional arts infrastructure:

Creative New Zealand is investing $3.2 million in the first year of Future Strengths. This strategy is guided by four goals (Capability, Sustainability, Development and New Voices) and aims to strengthen the artistic, organisational and financial resources of New Zealand’s existing professional arts infrastructure. In addition, New Voices will provide a transition path for a small number of organisations to move from project funding to the more secure base of annual funding over the next three years.

In 1999/2000, Creative New Zealand funded 31 professional arts organisations on an annual or multi-year basis (i.e. they were recurrently funded). These include theatre and opera companies, regional orchestras and experimental galleries, along with national service organisations such as Arts Access Aotearoa, Playmarket and the Tower New Zealand Youth Choir.

Last year, the 31 organisations reached audiences totalling more than one million. On average, each organisation raised more than 70 per cent of its annual revenue from fees, ticket sales and sponsorships.

Creative New Zealand’s Post-Election Briefing Paper stated: “Although all artforms are represented in this portfolio of organisations, there are some yawning gaps: eg contemporary dance, children’s theatre, craft, puppetry and physical theatre, contemporary music. In addition, the portfolio does not adequately reflect New Zealand’s cultural diversity and the emergence of professional arts practice in these areas … There are more such organisations evolving into new and vibrant groups of arts companies, which will soon become exhausted if not supported.”

To ensure a greater diversity of voices are heard, this year Creative New Zealand is offering annual funding to six organisations previously receiving project funding. These are: the New Zealand Book Council, Capital E’s National Theatre for Children, Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust, Artists Alliance, Te Whanau Paneke and Te Whare tu Taua o Aotearoa. This will increase the number of Creative New Zealand’s recurrently funded organisations from 31 to 37.

Eleven organisations have been offered multi-year funding for 2001 - 2003 to provide them with long-term stability. Seven of these organisations are being offered multi-year funding for the first time. They are: Toi Maori Aotearoa, Tower New Zealand Youth Choir, Canterbury Opera, NBR New Zealand Opera, Chamber Music New Zealand, Auckland Theatre Company and Circa Theatre/TACT.

In an article in the latest On Arts magazine Centrepoint Theatre’s Artistic Director Alison Quigan talked about the benefits of multi-year funding: “It was like growing up. We were able to go to the bank and the business community with guaranteed funding for three years.”

Why Future Strengths will have widespread benefits:

“A strong professional arts infrastructure is the foundation of a healthy arts sector for New Zealanders,” said Cath Robinson, Arts Development Manager for Creative New Zealand. “A revitalised arts infrastructure will have widespread benefits both for the arts sector and for New Zealanders.”

These benefits include the creation of new work, increased employment for artists, more opportunities for indigenous and Pacific voices to be heard, and greater access for audiences to New Zealand work.

In an article in the latest On Arts magazine, Playmarket script advisor and Circa Theatre council member Susan Wilson said that if Playmarket’s funding were increased everyone would benefit - “From the playwrights through to the actors, theatre and the public, who will get to see more New Zealand theatre.”

“Our Post-Election Briefing Paper described the arts infrastructure in New Zealand as financially and artistically fragile, hampered by many years of inadequate investment by Government” Cath Robinson said.

“The cost of doing more for less over a long period of time caused artistic exhaustion for some organisations, erratic programming, declining production standards and – ultimately –dwindling audiences.

This injection of funds should arrest the decline and provide a much needed opportunity for the professional arts sector to move forward.”

Investment in Maori arts:

In response to consultation with Maori, Creative New Zealand is investing $1.7 million in the first year of its three-year Seriously Maori strategy. This strategy will benefit Maori artists, iwi and Maori authorities. It will also help address three pressing issues for Maori arts:

 the need to protect Maori intellectual and cultural property rights
 the need for iwi and Maori authorities to develop arts management plans
 the need to profile Maori arts and culture to all New Zealanders.

For the past two years, Te Waka Toi has been discussing branding issues with Maori artists and government agencies. Consequently, a brand denoting authenticity and quality, akin to the Wool Mark, is now being developed. A wananga was held in August 2000 to consult on stage one of the project, which is to create the brand image. This involves looking at brand values, name and logo design. At the wananga it was agreed that the brand should be called a Maori-made Mark and a working party was formed to discuss key issues raised at the wananga.

The aims of the Mark are to promote Maori artworks commercially; protect the integrity of Maori art and culture in the marketplace; and encourage Maori artists to create and market their works. Once it is established, the Mark will have long-term financial benefits for Maori artists and iwi.

Another goal of Seriously Maori is funding to help iwi and Maori authorities develop and implement arts management plans. These plans aim to preserve and develop heritage arts. At least 30 arts management plans will be developed over the three years. Plans developed in the first year of the strategy will form best practice models for subsequent plans in the second and third years.

In the second year of the Seriously Maori strategy, Creative New Zealand will undertake a major initiative profiling Maori arts and culture. The aim of this initiative is to increase awareness and understanding among New Zealanders of the unique role and value of Maori arts to this country.

Support for the regions:

The three-year Regional Strengths strategy will support larger arts initiatives spanning district boundaries, with $510,000 funding in the first year. Pilot schemes in selected regions will be developed to provide increased opportunities for these cross-boundary projects. For instance, several districts may work in partnership to present regional festivals, hui, arts and craft trails, or arts marketing initiatives.

This will build on the Creative Communities Scheme, a partnership between Creative New Zealand and all 74 local authorities supporting arts in the community.

In 1998, Creative New Zealand conducted a review of the Creative Communities Scheme. The review, plus consultation with communities, revealed the gap in current funding to regional arts. Regional Strengths will help address the gap.

© Scoop Media

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