03 Jul 2024

This content is tagged as Creative NZ .


Stephen Wainwright
Posted by Stephen Wainwright

Chief Executive | Pou Whakahaere

Michael Prentice Leaving
Image: Michael Prentice adorned by the Korowai gifted to us by master weaver Diggeress Te Kanawa

Ka mahuta a Matariki I te pae, Ka mahuta a tātou tūmanako ki te tau. When Matariki rises, our aspirations rise to the year ahead.

It’s fitting how well Matariki aligns to the Government year, which ends on 30 June and restarts on 1 July.

This is also the time, as the days begin to lengthen, when we reflect on the past and make plans for the new growth to come in spring. 

He Tangata – Governance changes on the Arts Council

Haere rā ki Michael

At our June Council meeting, we farewelled Michael Prentice from the Arts Council. We acknowledge the terrific contribution Michael has made to our work since 2006, an unprecedented 18 years of service. Michael is the last of our members to have experience of our pre- 2014 Governance structure, when he was part of the Arts Board. He ended his time with us as Deputy Chair; his deep knowledge of the arts, and massive and insightful commitment to our work were features of his contribution in every role he held on the Council. 

Kent Gardner

Haere mai ki Kent

It was marvellous to have Kent Gardner attend his first Arts Council meeting following his recent appointment as Chair by Minister Goldsmith. From a whakapapa point of view, there is a nice circular connection to the fact that Kent (for the moment) also co-chairs the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Te Tumu Toi which was established by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council in 1995. This connection also references Kent’s commitment to our arts from a philanthropic point of view. Kent brings a lot to the job as the Chair and will, I predict, be highly impactful for the arts. We have a brief bio of Kent on our website

Kent is keen to engage with the community; we’re looking at opportunities over the coming months.

Our financial context for 2024/25

The conversations we have and the feedback we get suggest all readers will be aware of the Government’s financial context, the Budget announcements, and the economic environment. We’re now in a period when public investment in arts and culture spending is tight and discretionary spending is under pressure. 

As a Crown entity, we are subject to all these factors. The impact of government spending decisions is clear in the graph below. The blue bars show the time-limited Covid support appearing and then disappearing from our budget.

We know that change is constant and economies move in cycles, for now though, we must navigate tough times.

Our planning for the 2024/25 financial year began over six months ago. We developed three budget scenarios for the Arts Council that covered a range of revenue scenarios. It is pleasing to be able to report that our circumstances are a little better than our best-case scenario.

Both our major sources of revenue contribute to this outcome.   

Firstly, our public funding via the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has remained at the same level as last year. 

Secondly, the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board (NZLGB) confirmed its funding policies for us and other statutory bodies. The new NZLGB policy provides us with four years of certainty and a solid funding base of $52,788,785 per annum. This relieves us of the challenge of navigating the variable currents of annual Lotto profits and allows us to offer more funding certainty than in the past.

We are very pleased that in this tough climate, the value of supporting the arts via Creative New Zealand has resonated with decision makers.

While this news is positive, we are acutely aware that many practitioners and arts organisations are facing very challenging circumstances at the moment. This pressure is flowing through to us in terms of elevated demand for support. During these tough times, it's vital that we continue to support each other by celebrating the work that is made and its positive impact on communities.

The table shows our revenue over the past six years, including the time-limited Covid support and the revenue for 2024/25. 


The Statement of Performance Expectations 2024/25

As a Crown entity, we have to produce an accountability document called the Statement of Performance Expectations (SPE). The SPE sets out our planned activity, our budget and how we’ll measure our performance for the 2024/25 financial year.

The Minister intends to develop a national arts strategy

Together with many people who work in the arts who have been pushing for a strategy for a long time, we are delighted by Minister Goldsmith’s interest in advancing a national strategy. The Minister is seeking input from Creative New Zealand and the wider community. As best as we can recall, this is the first opportunity for our arts communities to share their perspectives to set a Government-led national strategy.

We encourage the community to take up this opportunity and expect further detail over the coming months on how to contribute.

We’re experiencing heightened demand for our programmes

In February 2024, following great advice from arts community people across the motu we began delivering our new contestable funding programmes, which are on our website

We heard the message loud and clear that people coming to us don’t want ‘caps’ on the number of applications and are seeking a human centred approach. So we have taken that on board and are managing elevated demand and engagement. In short we have received over twice as many proposals in the 23/24 year than the preceeding financial year. We are receiving more applications from first-time applicants and more from outside of the main centres.

Creative New Zealand’s support for Arts Organisations 

The review of our constable funding programmes was the first step in a transformation of what we do and how we do it. We’re now focusing on our support for arts organisations. This spans support for all organisations, including those in the new funding programmes as well as those in the Tōtara and Kahikatea investment programmes. 

We’ve begun the work by collecting responses from arts organisations. Thank you for taking the time to do this, it matters. We’ll be publishing the responses a bit later in July and this will inform options to present to the Arts Council. Once the Council endorses an option, the next phase of engagement will inform our programme design.

Happy 50th birthday to Centrepoint Theatre

Celebrating success is always time well spent. So it was uplifting to be involved in the recent 50th anniversary of Centrepoint Theatre in Palmerston North a couple of weekends ago. We have been supporting the theatre for all that half century and it was great to hear from alumni including Alison Quigan and Murray Lynch. The local and regional community and New Zealand practitioners plus an amazing team have been their secret sauce, along with longstanding commitment to local stories. Kate Louise Elliot and the board are looking to the future with confidence, including a refurbishment of the theatre. Fingers crossed for a reprise of ‘Five go Barmy in Palmy’.

Finally, I hope you can make time to catch up on more of our recent work, including the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture and our ongoing advocacy initiatives like the Art Work campaign currently running on The Spinoff and Stuff.  We invite you to sign up to our monthly ePānui if you wish to be more regularly informed.

Mate atu he tētēkura, ka whakaeke mai he tētēkura
As one frond perishes another grows in its place