Time to celebrate for all Wellington event lovers
MEDIA RELEASE: Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency
1 March 2018
A programme to make arts and culture available to a wider audience is part of an initiative to mark the numerous cultural milestones being celebrated in Wellington during 2018.
From 1 March through to the end of the year, thousands more Wellingtonians with financial or other access challenges will have the opportunity to attend events and engage with the city’s creative sector, thanks to a joint initiative between WREDA and the Wellington City Council.
The initiative is part of Celebrate Wellington, unrolled today to mark some of the biggest milestones in the city’s culture and history. This year marks 20 years since Te Papa opened, the 30th year of the World of Wearable Art, Visa Wellington On a Plate’s 10th anniversary, 65 years since the Royal New Zealand Ballet was formed and 125 years since legislation was passed in Wellington giving women the vote.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says that as New Zealand’s capital of culture, Wellington has a responsibility to make sure that everyone, regardless of background, level of ability or socio-economic status, is able to enjoy and engage with arts and culture.
“Wellington is a city of diversity, tolerance and inclusion, so it’s important that the benefit of our investment in the creative sector is spread across as many Wellingtonians as possible.”
Small grants to improve access
As part of Celebrate Wellington, WREDA will also provide arts and cultural organisations with small grants to be used for things like free transport for groups, and enabling better access to audio commentary and sign interpreters for the hearing impaired.
“What we are hearing from the sector is that these kinds of grants make a real difference to supporting them to get people with access and financial challenges along to events.”
The Mayor’s 10-Year Budget, released on 2 March, has a key focus on Wellington’s creative sector.
Supercharging Wellington events
WREDA General Manager of Venues, Marketing and Destination Development, David Perks, says Celebrate Wellington is part of WREDA’s mission to supercharge Wellington events.
“Every year thousands of people enjoy a range of live events in Wellington but there are thousands more who struggle to take part. Event promoters are already doing impressive work such as providing free or discounted tickets to the community and removing other access barriers. Celebrate Wellington is about enabling the sector to get more people involved in some of the events they’re already staging.”
The Executive Director of the New Zealand Festival, Megan Williams, welcomes the initiative and says this year’s Festival is providing the opportunity for thousands of people to get involved in the arts through free or discounted events.
"Everyone should be able to access great art"
“The Festival believes that everyone should be able to access great art. Experiencing art is not all about entertainment – it can spark creativity, offer connection with others, help with wellbeing and mental health, and for some, myself included, it can spark a career in the creative industries.
“With the Festival, we’re always striving to open up arts experiences to as many people as possible. On opening weekend more than 50,000 people experienced our A Waka Odyssey free events on the Wellington Waterfront and Petone Foreshore; our SchoolFest education and outreach programme will see more than 14,000 children and teenagers from right across the country attend a free or discounted event; and we’re constantly working to improve our accessibility, making some performances sign interpreted, audio described or staging them as a ‘relaxed performance’.
"We also have an allocation of daily tickets for $20 to most of the events in our programme. Celebrate Wellington will help arts organisations like ourselves bring more art to more people across the region.”
Arts Access Aotearoa say that one in four New Zealanders identify as having a disability or impairment.