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

Ngā Toi in Aotearoa – 2020 and beyond

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

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The COVID 19 crisis has highlighted the vulnerability of New Zealand’s arts sector.  The Government has responded quickly to address the immediate need for funding to maintain the sector throughout this crisis. As this funding is used to meet the immediate needs of the arts sector, the Ngā Toi Advocacy Network wishes to begin a conversation with government leaders about the long-term support and investment needed to strategically strengthen ngā toi in Aotearoa can be achieved.

The letter below from the Ngā Toi network was written to share with the Associate Minister for Culture and Heritage, and the Culture and Heritage spokespeople for the National, Green and New Zealand First parties, prior to their participation in the network’s pre-election forum. The letter lists key issues, and potential responses for consideration.

The content of the letter is available for use by others in the sector for advocacy.  If you would like to support the kaupapa, we welcome additional signatures.

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].
Strategy:

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.
Investment:

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.
Education:

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.
References:
[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 : https://www.tetaumatatoiaiwi.org.nz/moana-oceania/.

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
alison@tetaumatatoiaiwi.org.nz

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Ngā Toi Aotearoa Letter

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