Our advocacy work promotes the value of the arts and empowers the arts sector to make the case for the arts.
Many of our Creative New Zealand whānau and teams advocate for the arts as part of their work. Our dedicated Advocacy team, guided by our Advocacy Strategy and our wider strategic direction, works towards four central advocacy pou (pillars). These are outlined below.
National and public facing arts advocacy engagement
- We run national advocacy campaigns that raise the profile and reach of the arts’ contribution to our lives. For example, see our Thankful for Art campaign and our Koinei aku kaingākau | That’s why vaccination campaign
- We support and amplify research that demonstrates the value of arts, culture and creativity. Find out more about our New Zealanders and the Arts Ko Aotearoa me ōna Toi research
- We work with media to profile and advocate for the arts.
Delivering advocacy work alongside local government
- We foster close engagement with councils nationally, as well as their sector bodies Local Government New Zealand and Taituarā, to advocate for improving communities’ social and cultural wellbeing through creativity. See our news item Hastings wins award for cultural wellbeing
- We encourage investment in arts and culture by engaging with annual plan, long term plans and other consultations. See our news item Councils supporting arts and culture through their Long-term Plans and our submission to the review into the Future for Local Government
- We provide support to the arts sector to undertake their own advocacy with local government. See how to advocate in our advocacy toolkit
Articulating the positive impact of the arts on the social wellbeing of communities
- We collate evidence from research conducted in Aotearoa and around the world to demonstrate the impact of arts and culture on our wellbeing, to support the arts sector’s own advocacy. See our value Statements and evidence (pdf 41KB)
- We work with storytellers and media partners to bring to life stories about the hauora and wellbeing benefits that the arts, culture and creativity provide. Read our Creative Wellbeing series – a partnership with Ensemble Magazine and All Right?
- We invest in partnerships and foster relationships with a range of organisations that have a creativity and social wellbeing kaupapa. More in our news item Advocating for arts in infrastructure and see the Good Practice Guidelines for Investing in Creativity, Culture and the Arts (pdf 2154KB), developed by Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi
Convening and supporting arts sector advisory group, Te Rōpū Mana Toi
- We convene an independent group of sector leaders to advise and advance arts advocacy work at the national level
- We listen and learn from the group's unique perspectives of the arts sector’s challenges, opportunities and priorities - and let this inform our work, building toward a collective arts advocacy movement.
At the heart of our advocacy strategy is a commitment to working with allies to advance the case for the arts across community and society. Te Rōpū Mana Toi brings together artists, practitioners, managers and directors from around Aotearoa who have been identified as strong advocates for arts and culture across a wide range of artforms and kaupapa.
Te Rōpū Mana Toi members:
Dolina Wehipeihana Ngāti Tukorehe, Ngāti Raukawa (Kaiārahi Māori, PANNZ; General Manager, Kia Mau Festival; Chair, Atamira Dance Company, Co-Director Betsy & Mana Productions)
- Elise Sterback (Trustee, Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi; PhD candidate, Centre for Arts and Social Transformation, University of Auckland)
- Gretchen La Roche (CE, Chamber Music New Zealand; Trustee, Te Tairāwhiti Festival; Trustee, Dame Malvina Major Foundation) - until August 2022.
- Jeremy Mayall (CEO, Creative Waikato; composer)
- Karl Chitham Nga Puhi, Te Uriroroi. (Head of Arts and Culture, Hutt City Council; Director, The Dowse Art Museum; Co-Chair, CIRCUIT Aotearoa; Trustee, Wairau Māori Art Gallery)
- Kim Morton (Director, Ōtautahi Creative Spaces)
Megan Peacock-Coyle (Manager Arts & Culture, Hastings District Council; Co-Chair of Performing Arts Network of New Zealand)
- Fonoti Pati Umaga (Musician and disability advocate; Trustee, Pacific Music Awards)
- Rosabel Tan (Director, Satellites; freelance writer, strategist and producer; Trustee, Silo Theatre; Auckland Council Public Arts Advisory Panel member; Secretary, The Pantograph Punch)
- Tānemahuta Gray Ngāi Tahu, Rangitāne, Tainui/Waikato (whāngai). (Kahukura/CEO, Taki Rua Productions, G8 – Ngā Hua Toi, Ngā Kaiwhakahaere – Māori Advisory Board for Toi Whakaari, Kaupapa Māori tutor – New Zealand School of Dance)
Te Rōpū Mana Toi has developed a series of vision statements to guide its own agenda. These focus on the role of the arts in wellbeing, an arts ecosystem fit for Aotearoa, creative pathways in education, and the essential role of the arts and artists in society. Collectively they drive toward a vision of a country where all communities can enjoy the benefits of arts, culture and creativity.
More in our news item Te Ropu Mana Toi extends its reach and develops its vision
Our recent work
The Creative Wellbeing Series partnering with Ensemble Magazine and All Right?, we worked with a range of established and emerging writers to provide insights and experiences of the intrinsic wellbeing benefits of creativity. We explored the:
- role of creativity and creative play for our tamariki
- place of creativity in Te Ao Maori
- role of the artists that helped us through Covid-19 restrictions
- positive impacts creativity can have on our mental health
- role art plays in finding community and identity from perspectives of Asian, Pasifika and disabled people.
Our Future for Local Government review submission brought together local government arts and culture leaders’ insights and whakaaro (thoughts). Collectively, we imagined a future where arts, culture and creativity are positioned as essential tools to deliver across all wellbeing outcomes. We were fueled by a shared understanding of cultural wellbeing - what it is, how it supports communities, how to achieve it, and measure it. The five actions within our submission echo what we hear across the wider arts and culture sector and align with Creative New Zealand’s own ambitions for a stronger focus on cultural wellbeing.
The LGNZ Conference 2021 included a cultural wellbeing session supported by Creative New Zealand, which focused on creativity as a driver for community wellbeing. Arts Council Chair Caren Rangi spoke alongside Rangi Kipa, Meg Williams, Elisapeta Heta and Sandra Hazlehurst. We also continued our support of the annual Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award, to celebrate the leadership role of local councils and their work to promote the wellbeing of our communities.
In support of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 and 2021 we have run social media campaigns highlighting how the arts, culture and creativity support the many aspects of our wellbeing. We published an evidence resource outlining some of the research around the impact of the arts on wellbeing, and the current Chair of the Arts Council has published a blog sharing their personal reflections on the role of the arts in wellbeing each year.
Read Caren Rangi’s blog: Connecting, reflecting and comforting – what arts and culture can do for wellbeing
Read Michael Moynahan’s blog: Using the arts and creativity to reimagine wellbeing
Our Advocacy Strategy 2016–2021 sets out our five-year strategy to advocate for the positive contribution that art and artists make to New Zealanders’ lives.
The strategy has five key messages. We invite anyone advocating for the arts in Aotearoa to layer these messages into your own advocacy:
The arts matter for happy and healthy people
Involvement in the arts improves personal health and well-being, including helping people to understand and adapt to the world around them, and inspiring, stimulating and raising life aspirations. They also build individual skills and talents, and instil a sense of self-worth, confidence and personal achievement.
The arts matter for talented and creative people
Arts learning fosters critical thinking, using language and symbols, managing self, relating to others, and participating and contributing. It helps build the skills modern societies need to thrive, including empathy, creativity, problem-solving and teamwork.
The arts matter for strong and prosperous communities
The arts allow communities to come together and express shared values and beliefs. They help build social cohesion, community resilience and the rejuvenation of communities suffering from long-term economic deprivation, population decline and following natural disasters. The arts work for our businesses and economy by creating jobs, promoting spending and attracting people to our communities. They also help to make our communities more inclusive and explore our connection to the natural environment.
The arts matter for our identities
The arts are an important way for people and communities to explore and express their identities, individually and collectively, which also helps build more cohesive communities. The arts help us understand our own humanity and reinforce shared human connections. Participation in the arts produces a more engaged citizenry and promotes civic participation, and the arts provide an accessible forum for discussing society’s challenges and opportunities.
The arts matter to New Zealanders every day
New Zealanders overwhelmingly demonstrate that they care about the arts and value the role of the arts in our society. Key insights from the 2020 New Zealanders and the Arts research include: New Zealanders are more positive than ever about the vital role the arts play in our lives; the arts are making a powerful contribution to New Zealanders’ wellbeing, and are helping us get through COVID-19; more New Zealanders appreciate the arts’ powerful role in connecting whānau and communities; and the arts are helping more of us explore and build our own sense of identity, as well as growing our connections with other New Zealanders.