A collage of images from the Arts Access Aotearoa AGMLooking back over 2018, as Chair of Arts Access Aotearoa, I would like to mention just a few of the high notes for Arts Access Aotearoa over  the year – perhaps the highest note coming from our Prime Minister, who expressed the importance of access to the arts for the health and wellbeing of communities and individuals. I cannot recall ever feeling we had a government so aligned with our kaupapa.

Minister Sepuloni has been a stalwart believer in the impact of the arts and creative spaces on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, and has been active in seeking information and ways to address the challenges faced by creative spaces nationwide.

Minister Sepuloni presents the Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Spaces Award 2018 to Ōtautahi Creative Spaces We welcomed her request to the Ministry for Arts, Culture and Heritage to undertake research and were pleased to support the Ministry in developing a comprehensive survey of creative spaces. The survey findings have been presented to the Minister and will be made available to the public later this month. I am hopeful it will lead to equitable and sustainable funding for these spaces.

It was an absolute pleasure that Minister Sepuloni was able to host Te Putanga Toi Arts Access Awards in Parliament in August last year and present the Arts Access Holdsworth Creative Spaces Award to Ōtautahi Creative Spaces in Christchurch.

I am delighted to see te reo Māori featuring in the name of our annual awards and now in the two documents that make up our report on 2018: He aha ngā tāke kōrero? What’s the story? 2018 and Te Arotake Performance review 2018. Download here

Thanks to our Kaumātua, Bill Kaua, for his ongoing support and wisdom, and to Richard Benge and the Arts Access Aotearoa team for embracing this kaupapa.

Arts, health and wellbeing

We were also delighted to work with Te Ora Auaha over 2018, a group aiming to provide and promote research and resources on arts, health and wellbeing across the country.

Artwork donated by Northland Region Corrections FacilityAnother bright star in 2018  was the highly successful Awesome Arts Access Auction, held in November and the immense support this received from the our many stakeholders – especially the Department of Corrections, in terms of  catering and the donations of exceptional works of art.

I do want to acknowledge the generous support that Arts Access Aotearoa’s activities receive through grants, donations and in-kind support. We are extremely grateful for this support, along with vital core funding from Creative New Zealand and a contract with the Department of Corrections. And to Wellington City Council,

Kaumatua Bill Kaua and Patron Mel SmithI would like to express enormous thanks for their commitment and skills to the Arts Access Aotearoa team: staff, volunteers, trustees, Kaumātua Bill Kaua, and Patrons Mel Smith, Miranda Harcourt and Dame Rosie Horton.

I would also like to thank the board for their support. This year we farewelled Howard Fancy, from the Chair in August, and welcomed two new trustees to the board: Ruth Smithers and Te Aturangi Nepia-Clamp

I know we all look forward to working with our partners, stakeholders and friends to enhance access to the arts for all who face barriers, wherever they are and whatever the barriers.

Karen Webster is the Chair of Arts Access Aotearoa. This is her address, opening Arts Access Aotearoa's annual General meeting on 17 May. Read more about Karen and the board of trustees.



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