Soundbites and snapchats, hashtags and handles, emojis, likes and shares … We live in an online world where we can communicate instantly with others in our community or across the globe, and in ways that we have embraced enthusiastically this year.

Cover image of What's the story? 2019 of Robyn Hunt, presented the Arts Access Accolade 2019 by DFr Karen Webster, Chair, Arts Access AotearoaNow, more than ever before, we seek personal connection and a sense of community. In times of pandemics, terrorist attacks and natural disasters, we have reached out to each other and to our diverse communities.

Artists, musicians, actors, dancers, writers and filmmakers have always been important voices to help make sense of this world. They bring us together, physically or virtually. They make us laugh and cry, connect and communicate.

Arts Access Aotearoa turns 25-years-old on 22 July. We will be celebrating this as a great milestone at Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2020, which have been moved to October.

It is gratifying to know that the people involved with Arts Access Aotearoa today still uphold the vision that began with founding director Penny Eames and founding chair Mel Smith – that access to the arts is a human right and the arts are for everybody.

Creative New Zealand was our original funder and we are delighted to have their continued support.   

Arts, heath and wellbeing

At Arts Access Aotearoa, we are convinced of the value of the arts and creativity to our health and wellbeing.

Cover of Understanding the value of creative spaces We were especially pleased with the findings from a survey of creative spaces, conducted by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage with input from Arts Access Aotearoa, the Ministry of Social Development, the Office for Disability Issues and Creative New Zealand. These were presented to Minister Carmel Sepuloni and published in a report, Understanding the value of creative spaces, in July 2019.

The report demonstrates an opportunity for policymakers and funders wanting to deliver greater wellbeing outcomes to people in need of support. It emphasises the proven programmes and structures that creative spaces have in place, and the sense it makes for government to invest in them so they can strengthen and expand their services.

Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2019 was a major highlight of 2019. I would like to thank Hon Kelvin Davis for hosting the awards. It was my pleasure to present the Arts Access Accolade 2019 to Robyn Hunt ONZM in recognition of her unstinting and generous support for Arts Access Aotearoa’s work, and long-standing commitment to human rights and advocacy for disabled people.

Celebrating Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

The highlight of the evening, held during Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, was the finale where the national anthem was sung in te reo Māori, New Zealand Sign Language and English. It was led by Hinewehi Mohi in te reo Māori – 20 years after she sang it in te reo before an All Blacks’ quarterfinal in the Rugby World Cup.

Arts Access Aotearoa receives funding from Ara Poutama Aotearoa Department of Corrections, which enables us to deliver the Arts in Corrections Advisory Service. A key event we were involved in was the two-day Performing Arts and Justice Symposium, hosted by Massey University in Auckland. Arts Access Aotearoa provided advice and also facilitated a panel discussion called Performing from the Inside: Navigating rehabilitation through the creative process. The panel included Rachel Leota, National Commissioner, Ara Poutama Aotearoa Department of Corrections. We value her ongoing commitment and understanding of what the arts across our diverse cultures can offer people in Corrections facilities.

New directions for Arts Access Aotearoa

Following our application responding to Creative New Zealand’s Investment Strategy Te Ara Whakamua in 2019, we were delighted to be able to convey strong support for the strategy’s outcome that more New Zealanders participate in the arts, and receive notice of increased investment from Creative New Zealand from 2020. Our programmes deliver directly to the strategy’s investment features: Greater Diversity and Reach; Dynamic Arts; and a Resilient Arts Sector.

Gary Silipa, Auckland Community Arts Engagement Advisor, Arts Access AotearoaAlong with funding from Foundation North, this investment enabled us to appoint an Auckland Community Arts Engagement Advisor to lead a project called Empowering the Auckland Creative Spaces Sector. The project responds to evidence of the need for greater connection and collaborations among organisations, with activities that promote the sector’s value and drive its sustainability in Auckland.  

In 2019, Oranga Tamariki presented an exciting opportunity to Arts Access Aotearoa to undertake an 18-month pilot project, providing and evaluating high-quality arts experiences for rangatahi in two youth justice facilities. We are delighted to have commenced this project.

Launch of Te Ora Auaha

The launch of Te Ora Auaha, a national network for the arts, health and wellbeing, was made by Hon Carmel Sepuloni at Creative New Zealand’s office. Set up by an alliance of artists, researchers, policymakers and arts, education, health and community organisations. Its mission is to contribute to a healthier New Zealand through the arts.

Minister Sepuloni, Dr Karen Webster and Richard Benge, Arts Access Aotearoa at the launch of Te Ora AuahaIts new website provides evidence of the need for funding and resources to support arts participation in community settings, in education, in health settings and places such as Corrections facilities. Please engage with us if you can add to this growing movement.

Arts Access Aotearoa’s activities across the country would not be possible without the grants, donations and in-kind support we receive. We are extremely grateful for this support, along with vital core funding from Creative New Zealand, a contract with Ara Poutama Aotearoa Department of Corrections, and significant grants from Foundation North and Wellington City Council.

Performance Review cover image of Thane Pullan, co-MC of Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards 2019 The result of our fundraising efforts and careful management of funds means we can report a small surplus for 2019 (see Te Arotake Performance Review 2019, Statement of financial performance, p 8).

All of our achievements and much more are due to the commitment and skills of the Arts Access Aotearoa team: staff, volunteers, trustees, Kaumātua Bill Kaua, and Patrons Mel Smith, Miranda Harcourt and Dame Rosie Horton. Our thanks to former trustee Kim Morton and a welcome to new trustee Olivier Lacoua.

With new opportunities and additional staff, highlighted in this report, we look forward to working with our partners, stakeholders and friends to make 2020 another rewarding year.

Dr Karen Webster, Chair, Arts Access Aotearoa, welcomed guests to the twenty-fourth AGM of Arts Access Aotearoa, held on 27 May, and to what was its first virtual AGM. Read more about Arts Access Aotearoa in 2019


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