01 Aug 2023

This content is tagged as Creative NZ .


LGNZ Conference
LGNZ conference (L-R): Deputy Mayor Rohan O'Neill-Stevens, Caren Rangi, Tara Moala, Mayor Bernie Wanden and Helmut Modlik.

The LGNZ SuperLocal 2023 annual conference, held last week in Ōtautahi Christchurch, celebrated local decision-making from communities, for communities. 

Caren Rangi, Chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa was part of a panel chaired by Deputy Mayor Rohan O'Neill-Stevens which discussed reimagining local government, alongside Tara Moala, Helmut Modlik and Mayor Bernie Wanden.

Caren spoke about the opportunity to shape a new future by working in partnership to support communities, and centering the role that arts, culture and creativity can play in this mahi. “I don’t know how you have a conversation about the future without creativity at the heart.” 

Rangi reminded us of the regenerative role that arts and culture played in rebuilding Ōtautahi after the city was struck by earthquakes. “The Dance-O-Mat was born from the earthquakes, a decade on it has become a much-loved amenity with thousands of people who have danced with their communities on the mat, we could certainly do with it in Hawkes Bay right now.”

After discussing the tension for local government between universalism and supercharging localism, she challenged the audience of local government leaders about how much they were prepared to share leadership, and how were they working to instill a culture of partnership. “Do you trust each other? Our communities deserve to see you working together. We need a leadership space where we really make room for shared leadership with hapu, iwi and with communities, a brave leadership space for rangatahi, a safe place for truly shared leadership.”

The importance of listening to communities was reinforced, and the opportunity to harness and build on their knowledge for the collective good. 

The conference heard from Sophie Howe, the former Future Generations Commissioner of Wales, about the importance of a shared vision and thinking about the long-term impacts of decisions we make now. “What’s clear is the need for deeper relationships. How much time is local government focused on process verses the time to invest deeply in relationships with our communities, so our work truly reflects Te Tiriti and the communities we serve?” Rangi said.

After discussing the need for brave action from all leaders, she closed with a strong and timely reminder that investment in arts, culture, creativity and nga toi is an investment in community wellbeing. “We need our cities and towns to offer a sense of place; celebrate diversity; build collective community pride and bring joy to daily life”.

Learn more about Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ)

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