16 Dec 2022

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Te Ropu Mana Toi

Te Rōpū Mana Toi, Creative New Zealand’s advocacy advisory group, reflects on a year of working toward a vision of a thriving Aotearoa, fuelled by arts, culture and creativity.

At their final hui for 2022, Te Rōpū Mana Toi reflected on Creative New Zealand’s developing arts advocacy work, including highlights like the Creative Wellbeing series and local government engagement.

A key project for the rōpū this year was developing and launching a new advocacy guide alongside The Workshop, called Changing the story on arts, culture, and creativity in Aotearoa. The goal is that the narrative strategies and research highlighted in the guide will have long term impact as they’re used by advocates across Aotearoa —a blueprint for collectively advocating as a sector.

Te Rōpū acknowledged the advocacy work developed this year as an important and energising step toward collective advocacy in order to build more understanding of the value of arts, culture and creativity. 

Rōpū member Rosabel Tan says, “It's awesome to have Changing the story on arts, culture, and creativity in Aotearoa as a guide for our advocacy mahi, especially as we head into an election year. 

Most of my mahi until now has been focused on how we support artists, and how we connect them with their audiences, or how we change things at an organisational level. I'm looking forward to learning more about how we can re-shape these larger structures to be more in service to our artists, and where investing in the wellbeing of our nation — in a future where every single child can feel truly seen, heard, and inspired — isn't even a question”.

This year also saw the group contributing to the Manatū Taonga Long-Term Insights Briefing submission process, which drew on a wide range of artistic and sector experiences. 

“This was an exciting piece of work to collaborate on”, says Elise Sterback. 

“It called for us to think into the future and anticipate needs across our sector. We approached this exercise creatively, gathering a wide understanding of the sector that our rōpū holds and applying the storytelling strategies we had learned from our advocacy narrative training with The Workshop.

“The resulting thinking was both visionary and fiercely independent from any institutional agendas. It made us realise just how powerful it is to have a group of national advocates who have already developed strong working relationships with each other and are able to respond quickly to opportunities like this that arise one on the policy landscape.”

At the final hui for the year the rōpū renewed their commitment to supporting the narratives for change work in 2023, which is about how to build more public understanding of what changes are needed for arts, culture and creativity to flourish. This work includes developing a community of practice with a range of advocates and working toward a clear vision for the sector. 

“We believe positive change is possible and we’re committed to working towards it,” says rōpū member Jeremy Mayall. 

Find out more about Te Rōpū Mana Toi