Alison Taylor - Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi

Doing the Mahi

Alison Taylor

Te Taumata Toi-A-Iwi is part of the arts ecosystem in one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Tamaki Makarau is a place where people from a range of cultures and ethnicities tell their stories and practise their arts.  We live in an extraordinary cultural landscape.

While Auckland is rich in its creativity, the contribution of arts and artists to the life of our city is not as recognised, supported and celebrated as it deserves. The seismic shock of COVID-19 brings into sharp relief the weaknesses of the ecosystem that supports our arts sector. To get a sense of the scale of the impact of COVID-19 on the sector, and the support needed now, we are running a survey in early April. Feedback will be collated to help inform responses in the Auckland region and nationally. We will share the survey results with Creative New Zealand.

While COVID-19 is our immediate focus, as an organisation we are also continuing to look at our role in the long-term.

I joined Te Taumata Toi-A-Iwi as our board was considering its strategic direction.  The big question was how a regional arts trust with limited resources could best to focus those resources to make a difference. A strategic decision was made to build on our legacy and our connections in the sector to create a stronger sector voice to strengthen Auckland’s arts and culture ecosystem. In a post-COVID-19 world, we will also want to draw on the collective wisdom of our arts community to design a new normal in which the central role of arts in our lives, and in the life of our city, is recognised, supported and celebrated.

This means that as a regional arts trust, we will move from supporting individual development and activities through grants, to investing in sector development.

Our strategy is supported by four pou: convene; advocate; activate; disrupt.

Convene – bring together the diverse organisations, stakeholders and communities that contribute to our sector, and enable creative collaboration within and beyond the creative sector.

Advocate – promote the value of the creative sector, providing thought leadership and influencing for change to ensure creativity is valued, invested in, and recognised.

Activate – initiate and co-invest in opportunities with potential to strengthen the creative sector’s capability for impact.

Disrupt – support innovation and experimentation to challenge the status quo and create opportunities to ignite and enable creativity.

Our mahi will be focused initially around several initiatives.


We are building a collective approach to contemporary advocacy for value and impact of creative arts on society and challenging the sector and Government to co-create a stronger framework/ strategy in Tamaki Makaurau, and Aotearoa. This will see us working alongside Auckland University, Creative New Zealand, and sector leaders to build on past efforts, and create contemporary strategies to build support for the arts.

The arts of Moana Oceania

Moana Oceania is research we have commissioned to gather knowledge and create a conversation around the value of culture and arts practice of Auckland’s 17 Moana Oceania communities.  Our intent is to build understanding of the diversity of arts practice, to share this, and build our knowledge and practice

Art funding and investment

We intend to develop the connections between those who fund and invest in the arts to identify opportunities for collaborations to position Auckland as a city of creativity. This includes looking at young people and the arts – and explore the ways in which our sector can evolve through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

Sector capability

We will explore the learnings from ART Venture and other models of capability development and look at where we can best add value through collaboration with the sector in the future. We will also gather sector intelligence to better understand the needs both now in these challenging times and in the future.

Each of these initiatives is exciting in its own right.  Also exciting is the opportunity each presents to bring some of New Zealand’s most creative brains together to help shape the future for our sector.  I look forward to working with you.