15 May 2017

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Arts and culture will help drive the Waikato regions development

Arts and culture will play a significant role in helping the Waikato region achieve the community and economic development goals set out in the draft Waikato Plan, says Creative New Zealand.

Creative New Zealand has made a submission on the draft Waikato Plan which sets out the region’s development priorities for the next 30 years. The plan is an initiative of the Waikato Mayoral Forum with 11 councils in the region participating in its creation.

“The Waikato plan succinctly encapsulates suitable priority areas for the region. It also presents clear, workable actions for the councils to undertake and to align with their planning,” the Creative New Zealand submission said.

Creative New Zealand identified three priorities, of the five in the plan, where investment in arts and culture would have a positive impact.

“In planning for population changes, councils will have to consider expenditure on arts and cultural services and facilities from a regional perspective,” the submission said.

The closing of Founders Theatre in Hamilton had made it difficult for arts organisations in, or touring to, Hamilton to find suitable venues. 

New residents to the region would also expect some degree of cultural activity. A vibrant cultural scene would make the Waikato appealing to the highly skilled and educated people the region wishes to attract, the submission said.

Creative New Zealand welcomed the plan’s focus on partnering with iwi/Māori. “Māori arts and culture do present instrumental benefits, but importantly they are a defining feature of the Waikato region.”

The submission also urged the region’s councils to consider investment in the arts alongside tourism and other industries as a means to stimulate economic development.

Creative New Zealand submission on the Draft Waikato Plan