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The Future of Arts

Icon ArtsThere is a proud and diverse arts community in Central Hawke’s Bay who is presenting and participating in a wide array of arts activity. From our nationally significant Waipawa Music and Dramatic group to our full time working visual artists, from artists working in schools to people participating in recreational art such as ceramics or textiles.  

There are touring performances in our venues such as Dave Dobbyn at the Central Hawke’s Bay Municipal Theatre and Reb Fountain playing recently at the Ongaonga Hall, and a new readers and writers festival.  Ngā Ara Tipuna puts authentic cultural stories of Tamatea hapū on the landscape and showcases traditional and contemporary Māori artforms. There is a huge range of opportunities for people to engage in the arts, as makers, creators, presenters, participants, and audience members.

Identified in Project Thrive and the Central Hawke's Bay Integrated Spatial Plan 2050 the development of an Arts and Culture Strategy was an initiative to support this sector of our community.  In early 2021 Council secured external funding from Creative New Zealand to develop a Arts and Culture Strategy, amongst the range of other strategic work it is completing for its Places and Open Spaces Assets. 


Why are the Arts important? 

The arts are making a powerful contribution to New Zealanders’ wellbeing and are helping us get through COVID-19. More people are also appreciating the role that the arts play in connecting whānau and communities, but we know that access could be improved.   With help from others, we’ve identified some unique opportunities for the District:

  • Recognising, supporting and promoting the benefits of the arts in contributing to our identity and sense of place.  

  • Connecting, networking and collaborating to have a greater collective impact and to publicise what is going on and how people can get involved. 

  • Nurturing the diversity and vibrancy of Central Hawke’s Bay through more visible and accessible arts activity – on the streets, with our young people, in public spaces and at events. 

  • Celebrating and supporting Ngā Toi Māori (traditional and contemporary Māori art) in Central Hawke’s Bay. 


Why are we having this conversation? 

The District currently does not have an Arts Strategy.  This makes understand local priorities and how to contribute to a regional approach to the arts difficult without an understanding of our local priorities.  

We’ve also heard the sector would benefit from increased co-ordination in the District, with many not understanding what is happening in Central Hawke’s Bay in the arts, and how people can get involved. Opportunities are not always promoted in a coordinated way and despite an abundance of arts activity happening, it is not always visible in the community.

We also want to focus on ensuring the sustainability, resourcing and resilience in our arts community, especially due to the effects of COVID-19, and understand what Councils role is long term in the Arts. 


What does success look like? 

With the help of others, we’ve done some early thinking and think that success for the future of Arts and Culture is to:

  • Enable us to take pride in ourselves, where we have come from, who we are and celebrate diversity within our community. 

  • Enrich our towns and villages with art that reflects the uniqueness of our places and people. 

  • Provide for investment in developing our creative people, projects, and places will support a robust, sustainable arts community. 

  • Ensure Resources (facilities, funding mechanisms and programming) must be fit for purpose, accessible, inclusive and supportive for arts opportunities and projects. 


Want to know more? 

To understand more about Arts and Culture, what we are trying to achieve and who is involved, read our full Discussion Document on Arts. 


Let us know your ideas 

We’re still in the early phases of this work, however we are keen to hear any your ideas you’ve got to support Arts and Culture in Tamatea -Central Hawke’s Bay.  You can do this by completing our online survey or emailing us on 


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