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Do the arts mean the world to us?

29 Jun 2015

This content is tagged as All Artforms .

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Stephen Wainwright
Posted by Stephen Wainwright

Chief Executive - Pou Whakahaere

“I remember going to an arts conference which had the catchy name “The Arts mean the world to us”. Perhaps of greater interest, and this involves looking outside the tent, is whether the arts matter to New Zealanders.

The Colmar Brunton research ‘New Zealanders and the arts’, enables us to answer this question every three years.  Some highlights from the 2014 research:

  • 85% of New Zealanders have attended at least one event in the last twelve months, up from 80% in 2011. 
  • 58% have been actively involved in at least one arts activity in the last twelve months, up from 49% in 2011.

This is good news, but only tells part of the story.

The exciting sequel to New Zealanders and the arts is the Audience Atlas New Zealand research.  This takes us deeper into New Zealanders’ attendance, and here is the rub.  We have a big potential market across all artforms. Between a quarter and a half of the market for every artform is made up of people  who are inclined to go but don’t go much.  The implications of this were top of mind for the 140-odd practitioners who came to Wellington this month for The Big Conversation seminar, which you can find out more about here.

In an environment where local and central government money is tight, in particular at CNZ, it stands to reason that there is a focus on the question:  Given these facts how do we grow?

The New Zealanders who currently ‘paddle’ in the arts but who would, with encouragement and an appropriate offering, wade deeper in are now in focus. This is pleasing. There are so many terrific arts experiences available, it is best to share them, so we can say with confidence “the arts mean the world to us”.