Our Wellington

News | 18 June 2021

Absolutely positive about the arts

Eighty-two per cent of Wellingtonians attended or participated in the arts last year, with the overall impact from COVID-19 an increase in positive feelings from Wellingtonians towards the arts.

Children play with bubbles on Lambton Quay as part of Wellington City Council's Very Welly Christmas.

These are the results from Creative New Zealand’s latest release of findings from the 2020 study - New Zealanders and the Arts – Ko Aotearoa me ōna Toi - which looked at New Zealanders’ attitudes towards engagement with the arts.

Councillor Jill Day, Chair of Wellington City Council's Social, Economic and Cultural Committee, says the news is exciting. 

This recognition of what the arts can do for us at a personal level and the wider social benefits it offers has also led to an increased support in public funding for the arts, with 72 per cent of Wellingtonians agreeing it should be publicly funded, and a greater demand for it to be accessible.

Forty-two per cent of Wellington residents also say that the arts have supported their wellbeing through COVID-19, and the pandemic has pushed people to watch more activities online since lockdown (37 per cent).” 

A series of attitudes were added to the Creative New Zealand’s study in 2020 about the role of the arts in communities. 

The findings show us that Wellington City residents are clear that the arts are a key part of the city’s identity, and they want Wellington to be recognised as a place that supports it. 

Cr Day added: Wellingtonians feel the arts benefit the community by contributing to resilience and wellbeing, and that their community would be a poorer place without them.

The only longitudinal survey of its kind in Aotearoa, the 2020 research was conducted by independent research company Colmar Brunton. 

Nataša Petković-Jeremić, Manager of City Arts and Events at Wellington City Council, believes arts and culture is one of the reasons people come to the Capital.

The findings show us the importance of arts and culture in creating our sense of place here in the Capital, and that the creative infrastructure and events are important reasons why people gravitate to Wellington.” 

For the first time in the national survey, there are also dedicated reports exploring Māori, Pasifika and Asian New Zealanders’ relationship with the arts. A report on New Zealanders with lived experience of disability and their relationship with the arts has also been prepared for the first time, as well as the regional and city reports that premiered in 2017. 

You can find the full national reports here and the Wellington City report can be found here.

Earlier in the year Wellington was announced as New Zealand’s most creative city, according to the 2020 Infometrics Creativity Index. Wellington has topped the rankings for the last 20 years, with a significant lead over other cities. 

Nataša added: To reflect our dedication to the arts, Wellington City Council is developing Aho-Tini 2030, a strategy which will lead us through the next 10 years of innovation and creation in our city”.

This report confirms that Wellingtonians strongly support our local arts, and it supports the high importance that the Council places in the new strategy and its focus on access and inclusion, the higher visibility of Ngā Toi Māori, and the success of our artists and arts organisations.

Aho-Tini 2030 combines the review of the 2011 Arts and Culture Strategy, together with the original Aho-Tini principles (2018), to give a new direction for cultural wellbeing in our city.

"It will enable Wellingtonians and visitors to explore and experiment with their own creativity.”