‘The arts make my life better’: New Zealanders
16 Jun 2015
New Zealanders are creative people who believe being involved in the arts makes their lives better and their communities stronger.
Nine out of ten adult New Zealanders (88%) agree the arts are good for them and eight out of ten (82%) agree that the arts help to improve New Zealand society.
The results are included in Creative New Zealand’s triennial survey, New Zealanders and the Arts: Attitudes, attendance and participation in 2014.
Nine out of ten New Zealanders (89%) have either attended or participated in at least one arts event in the past 12 months – the highest level of engagement since the surveys began in 2005.
“The results are heartening for the arts sector. As a nation we continue to value the positive contribution the arts make to our personal well-being and the cultural inclusion of our communities,’’ says Creative New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Stephen Wainwright.
In 2014 the survey tested a range of statements including:
- I learn about different cultures through the arts (86% agree)
- Overall, New Zealand arts are of high quality (85% agree)
- The arts help to define who we are as New Zealanders (78% agree)
- The arts should receive public funding (74% agree)
- My community would be poorer without the arts (69% agree)
- My community has a broad range of arts and artistic activities that I can experience or participate in (66% agree)
- The arts improve how I feel about life in general (64% agree).
Young New Zealanders and Arts
Young New Zealanders (10-14 year-olds) love being involved in the arts because they like being creative, it makes them happy and gives them self-confidence. They rate being creative as a favourite pastime (83%) rivalling playing computer or video games (76%) and watching TV or DVDs (83%).
Young New Zealanders are now more involved in singing and playing a musical instrument particularly outside of school, up to 85% compared to 73% in 2011.
All young New Zealanders in the survey had participated in at least one artform in the previous 12 months, with school remaining the most important influence. However, nearly all of those in the survey (93%) had also been involved in the arts in their own time.
Recovery in Christchurch
The ongoing effects of the 2011 earthquakes continue to limit Christchurch residents’ engagement with the arts particularly their attendance, however there has been some recovery.
Two thirds (68%) of Christchurch residents now say they are just as involved in the arts as prior to the earthquakes, compared to 58% when the same question was asked in the 2011 survey (September-November). There is also a significant increase in residents who say they are attending arts events as much as they did prior to the earthquakes, now 41% up from 25% in 2011.
While Christchurch residents continue to value the arts fewer feel as strongly about their place in the city’s rebuild.
Eight out of ten (83%) of Christchurch residents agree with the statement that ‘arts and culture have a vital role to play in the rebuilding of Christchurch’s future’, compared to nine out of ten (91%) in 2011. In addition, fewer feel as deeply about the statement, with 54% strongly agreeing compared to 73% in 2011.
Overall 88% consider it ‘important for Christchurch to be recognised as a place that supports excellence in the arts’, compared to 94% in 2011. Again significantly fewer feel as deeply about the statement, with 57% strongly agreeing compared to 70% in 2011.
The decline in the strength of feeling may be explained by the experience of living in a city where basic infrastructure, such as roading and housing, is being renewed and rebuilt and there is frustration at a perceived lack of progress.
Within the context of the day-to-day difficulties of living and working in Christchurch the arts may be perceived by some residents as less of a priority. This may also be compounded by concerns about the cost of rebuilding the city.
About the report
New Zealanders and the Arts: Attitudes, Attendance and Participation in 2014 provides insights that help the arts community and its supporters identify new trends in a changing environment and take up new opportunities. The research was conducted by independent research company Colmar Brunton and involved more than 1000 New Zealanders. It builds on previous research in 2005, 2008 and 2011.
A full report of the results is available www.creativenz.govt.nz/nzersandthearts2014.