Capital's Arts & Culture Strategy Gets the Go Ahead

9 September 2011

Councillors at today's (8 September) Strategy and Policy Committee meeting unanimously voted to consult on the draft Arts and Culture Strategy.

Starting Monday 19 September, anyone interested in the city's arts scene, creative industries, or in arts development can have their say on the draft plan.

Art and culture are an integral part of Wellington and the draft strategy is about providing a clear direction for future Council investment in the arts. The strategy has three priorities:

  • Reinvigorate the capital city experience by enabling the best and the boldest of contemporary New Zealand arts and culture.
  • Realise the city's untapped potential by connecting the city's talented creative people with communities and schools - and celebrate the creativity of the city's diverse communities.
  • Recognise that thriving artistic enterprises will attract investment and that new technologies will allow Wellington to share its unique cultural offer with New Zealand and the world.

The Council's Arts and Culture Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, says the strategy aims to build on a city "lucky to be home to some of New Zealand's finest arts organisations and artists, whose residents are passionate about the arts and enjoy the new and experimental".

"We have a very responsive audience to some of the most daring and bold events and arts experiences in the country," says Cr Ahipene-Mercer.

"On top of that, we have the highest arts event attendance across New Zealand.

"We want to build even more momentum for the Capital. We've had a lot of discussions with artists and arts organisations throughout the city as we prepared this strategy, and it must be said - people are feeling the pinch. Whether it's a drama group struggling for funding, or some of our residents who've had to skimp on their entertainment spending, this is definitely an industry that's felt the repercussions of the economic downturn."

However, Cr Ahipene-Mercer says it's not just about money.

"This strategy is part of a wider framework - Toward 2040: Smart Green Wellington - our blueprint for the city's future.  This recognises, among other things, that people are Wellington's greatest asset but that we need to respond to some big challenges. We want to do this by looking at ways we can use our investment more effectively to encourage greater collaboration both within the arts and culture sector and with business and the tertiary training sector. We want to see artists working more with communities to create quality work that celebrates and excites local people. We want to look at ways to connect children and young people with the innovative technology Wellington is fast becoming renowned for," says Cr Ahipene-Mercer.

"We also want to raise the profile of Māori, Pasifika and Asian artists and arts in the city - Wellington and New Zealand's population is changing and our city needs to reflect and celebrate this change"

The draft Arts and Culture Strategy will go out for consultation on Monday 19 September.

Two open Q&A sessions will be held by the Council on Tuesday
4 October (12.30pm - 1.30pm and 5.30 - 6.30pm). Both sessions will be held in Committee Room Two, Ground Floor, Council buildings, 101 Wakefield Street. People will have three weeks to submit their feedback which closes on Friday 14 October 2011.

For more information on the strategy, go to the Public Input section of this website:

Public Input Index

Here, you can download the strategy and also submit your feedback online. Failing that, phone the Council on (04) 499 4444 to have a copy posted out to you. For more information on Toward 2040: Smart Green Wellington, go to:

Wellington 2040 website