Ngā Toi in Aotearoa - Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi

Improving wellbeing and prosperity through culture, creativity and the arts in Aotearoa.

Ngā Toi in Aotearoa – 2020 and beyond outlines key issues affecting ngā toi | the arts culture and creative sector and offers policy guidance on potential responses.  This submission was produced to open a conversation on arts policy with political parties currently in Parliament, their arts and culture spokespeople and policy directors. It covers a range of issues, from sector leadership and governance, to Te Tiriti, to a national arts strategy, to infrastructure, and education.

The submission was developed through a collaboration between Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi as Auckland’s regional arts trust, and the Ngā Toi Advocacy Network.  The network represents a diverse range of arts organisations, arts advocacy groups, festival directors, independent arts consultants and researchers, and arts administrators. It aims to identify how to strategically strengthen ngā toi in Tāmaki Makaurau, and in Aotearoa.  

The submission informed the pre-election forum Shaping the future of the arts, culture and creative sector with Hon Carmel Sepuloni (Associate Arts Culture and Heritage Minister), Jonathon Young MP (Arts Culture and Heritage spokesperson National Party), and Chlöe Swarbrick MP (Arts Culture and Heritage spokesperson Green Party). The forum identified a high degree of cross-party agreement on a number of issues covered in the submission. 

A number of individuals and organisations in the sector chose to endorse the submission. A list of those supporters is included at the bottom of this page and at the end of the document.

Ngā Toi in Aotearoa – 2020 and beyond

Improving wellbeing and prosperity through culture, creativity and the arts in Aotearoa

Ngā toi (culture, creativity and the arts) are vital to our wellbeing, and to our success as a nation. Our artists, film makers, photographers, composers, writers, actors, dancers, weavers, singers, carvers and other creators feed our spirits as individuals, as whānau, as communities.  They are supported by a diverse range of people providing services such as lighting, costume design, make-up, fundraising, marketing and management. This constellation of skills and experience nurtures Aotearoa’s wider creative sector – music, games, books, film and television industries, design, advertising, software and architecture.

COVID 19 has shown how vulnerable, however, this sector is. The Government response to the impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector has been wholehearted and prompt. The additional funding allocated to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage is very welcome.

The Ngā Toi Advocacy Network wishes to begin a conversation with government leaders about opportunities to consider how, as we address the immediate needs of the arts sector, we can also achieve the long-term support and investment needed to strategically strengthen ngā toi in Aotearoa. 

There is so much to gain.  Ngā toi are a vehicle for:

  • Health and wellbeing, including a sense of belonging, inclusion and identity
  • Employment, training and business development
  • Economic sustainability, resilience, productivity and growth
  • Honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Improving educational outcomes
  • Shifting to a low carbon economy
  • Enhancing New Zealand’s global reputation.

2020 and beyond – shaping the conversation

To help shape a dialogue about strengthening the sector, representatives from the Ngā Toi Advocacy Network identified key issues for consideration, through hui, email networks and conversations.  The intent was to bring forward proposals that could lead to:

  • Greater understanding of the role of ngā toi in wellbeing and the COVID-19 recovery
  • Reflect Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles
  • Support a joined-up government approach to ngā toi
  • Bring government and the ngā toi sector closer together
  • Improve funding equity
  • Increase investment in ngā toi and strengthen infrastructure supporting ngā toi.

Five action areas were identified. We urge the next government to engage in inclusive conversations with the ngā toi sector about these action areas and commit to progressing them in the next term of Parliament.

Government leadership and engagement:

How can government leadership and engagement around ngā toi be strengthened?

We ask government leaders to consider the following actions:

  • Express a clear government ambition for the ngā toi sector
  • Take a cross-Ministry approach to ngā toi
  • Connect in an inclusive, joined-up way[1] with the ngā toi sector
  • Elevate the profile of the of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Portfolio, as part of COVID-19 recovery[2].

What could a national ngā toi strategy deliver for Aotearoa?

We ask policy makers to:

  • Create a national ngā toi strategy, that is co-designed across relevant Ministries, and with local government, funding bodies and the ngā toi sector.
  • This strategy would inform policy, decision making and investment. It will also amplify the role of ngā toi in improving wellbeing and growing shared prosperity.

How can we invest to support core infrastructure and established organisations, and support ngā toi in our diverse communities?

We ask policy makers to consider the following actions:

  • Implement a transparent investment strategy for the Arts and Culture COVID-19 Recovery Fund, and for future arts funding and mechanisms, to address current funding shortfalls and inequities, and clarify funding priorities.
  • Identify where ngā toi are currently unsupported in our increasingly diverse communities, and address investment needs for these communities.
Sector leadership and infrastructure:

How can we strengthen ngā toi leadership, capability and infrastructure at national, regional and local levels?

We ask policy makers to consider the following actions:

  • Dedicate resourcing to build leadership, capability and infrastructure, based on discussion with the ngā toi sector, to ensure that support is directed equitably, where it is needed. Government support for toi Māori should recognise tikanga Māori structures.

How do we nurture the roots of our creativity as a nation?

We ask policy makers to consider the following actions:

  • Embed and resource culture, creativity and arts in schools and across the education system, with a priority on indigenous and national arts, as the building blocks of a more inclusive, creative, just and prosperous Aotearoa.
  • Acknowledge, resource and support other cultural contexts of education and learning within and across Aotearoa.
[1] This means resourcing genuine, inclusive engagement across the range of arts, culture and creative forms.
[2] This includes recognising and upholding different worldviews on ngā toi at a government and national level –  see for example this ‘Arts of Moana Oceania’ research project supported by Te Taumata Toi a Iwi :

The Ngā Toi Advocacy Network looks forward to engaging with government on these calls to action and invites others in the sector to contribute to this conversation.

For further information please contact Alison Taylor, CEO, Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi


Lisa Allport

Mark T Amery
Independent arts advisor, journalist and curator

Lauren Andrews
NZ Comedy Trust & NZ Intl Comedy Festival

Megan Andrews
Auckland Arts Festival

Camila Araos Elevancini
Auckland Festival Trust

Lisa Bates
Independent Director

Joseph Bjelic-Webster

Caroline Bindon
The New Zealand Dance Company

Jo Blair
Arts Foundation

Victoria Blood

JP Bolton
The New Zealand Dance Company

Heidi Brickell
Arts Makers Aotearoa

Chelsea Bridges
Auckland Arts Festival

Michael Brook
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development

Alice Canton

Stephenie Collin
Warped Art & Design

Juliet Cooke
Intouch Design Ltd

Neal Curtis
University of Auckland

Ashley David
Auckland Arts Festival

Hazel Davies

Judy Darragh
Arts Makers Aotearoa

Anne Falconer

Louise Gallagher
Performing Arts Network NZ

Karen Gardiner
Chartwell Trust

Matthew Goldsworthy
Youth Arts New Zealand

Eve Gordon
The Dust Palace Circus Theatre Company

Caley Hall
Caley Hall Fine Art

Kirsty Hardwicke
NZ Comedy Trust & International
Comedy Festival

Matt Haworth
Matt Haworth Art

Rebecca Ann Hobbs
Arts Makers Aotearoa

Dawn Hutchesson

Greg Innes
Q Theatre

David Inns
Auckland Arts Festival

Lyn Jarman
Maori Music Managers Development Initiative

Gesa Luamanu

Antonia Mann

Shona McCullagh
Auckland Arts Festival

Filani Macassey

Barbara Makuati-Afitu
Lagi-Maama Academy and Consult

Amy Malcolm

Sandi Morrison
Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi

Grant Mouldey
Red Leap Theatre Charitable Trust Board

Molly Mullen
University of Auckland

Heather O’Carroll

Jess O’Connor
The Dust Palace

Ataahua Papa
Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki / Auckland Arts Festival

Lyn Potter

Jesse Quaid

Rachel Ruckstuhl-Mann

Abert L Refiti
Vā Moana Research Cluster, Auckland University of Technology

Elise Sterback
Basement Theatre

Sam Snedden

Martin Sutcliffe
Corban Estate Arts Centre

Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho
Taurima Vibes Ltd

Catherine Thomson

Elisabeth Vaneveld

Steph Walker
Auckland Arts Festival

Amber Walls
Auckland Council Youth Empowerment team

Layla Walter
World Craft Council rep for Aotearoa NZ (in conjunction with WCC-Australia)

Dr James Wenley
Victoria University of Wellington

Tim Wong
Auckland Arts Festival; New Zealand International Film Festival

Allan Xia
Chromacon Indie Arts Festival

Vienna and Zoe A

Vanessa Zigliani