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Creative New Zealand survey shows that ‘art makes New Zealand a better place to live’
New Zealanders believe the arts make their communities better places to live and agree they should be a part of everyone’s education.
The results are included in Creative New Zealand’s triennial survey, New Zealanders and the Arts: Attitudes, attendance and participation in 2017, launched this week by New Zealand Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern in Wellington.
Eight out of 10 New Zealanders have participated in the arts or attended an arts event, or both, in the last 12 months resulting in a record high for arts engagement (80%).
Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright explained “New Zealanders recognise the positive contribution the arts make to supporting strong, thriving communities and the development of happy, confident young New Zealanders.
In 2017 the research tested a range of statements including:
• I feel proud when New Zealand artists succeed overseas (74% agree, 18% neutral)
• The arts should reflect New Zealand’s cultural diversity (67% agree, 25% neutral)
• The arts should be part of the education of every New Zealander (61% agree, 26% neutral)
• The arts contribute positively to our economy (59% agree, 30% neutral)
• The arts help to improve New Zealand society (57% agree, 27% neutral)
• My community would be poorer without the arts (50% agree, 29% neutral)
• I learn about different cultures through the arts (64% agree, 22% neutral)
Wainwright added “while the majority of New Zealanders agree the arts contribute to their communities there is an opportunity and a challenge to encourage more New Zealanders to take the plunge to attend more arts events
Three in five New Zealanders (62%) agreed that while some arts events interested them they still did not attend much, leading Wainwright to pledge “we will be using the survey findings to provide intelligence to the arts sector and inform our own decisions about how we can best use our resources to engage more New Zealanders with the arts.”
Access to the arts varies by region
In 2017 sample sizes were increased to allow Creative New Zealand to identify regional differences in attitudes towards the arts and levels of attendance and participation.
Those living in main provincial towns and cities are most likely to agree (50%) they have access to a broad range of arts and culture activities. Hotspots for arts access were Wellington city, Otago, Nelson city and Taranaki while access was viewed as more challenging in the West Coast, Southland, Waikato and Auckland.
Here Wainwright explained “we need to find effective ways to boost arts engagement in some regions and work together to put ideas into practice.”
Art makes young New Zealanders confident
Young New Zealanders (10-14 year-olds) participating in the arts feel more confident (67%) and good about life (62%) while also making friends (58%).
Most young people (71%) were satisfied with their level of involvement in the arts. Those that wanted more access (21%) would do so if activities were cheaper or free or if there were more or better activities where they lived.
While overall the results were encouraging there was a decline in enjoyment and participation as young people entered their teenage years and secondary education and also differences between genders. 77% of girls agree that doing creative things makes them feel “really good”, compared to 57% of boys.
Wainwright commented “we need to understand more about the lower levels of enjoyment and participation. The Arts Council has already made provision to invest $1 million per annum for the next five years to develop and implement a specific initiative to engage young people and youth in the arts.”
More detail on the initiative will be available in July after the Arts Council meets in June.
Support for identity and cultural understanding
In 2017 the survey included, for the first time, a number of statements about the impact of Ngā Toi Māori (Māori Arts). Six out of ten New Zealanders and 81% of Māori agree that Ngā Toi Māori helps to shape New Zealand’s national identity.
More than half of Māori respondents agreed that Ngā Toi Māori improved their sense of well-being (55%) and encouraged them to speak te reo Māori (52%).
Māori attend and participate in the arts more frequently than other groups with 33% attending 11 or more events a year and 31% participating in the arts 13 or more times a year, compared to the national average of 22% and 20%, respectively.
Pacific peoples are more likely than other New Zealanders to agree the arts foster social cohesion by helping people to understand other cultures (34% vs a national average of 17%) and by breeding tolerance and acceptance (20% vs 8%).
New Zealanders’ attendance at Pacific arts events has reached a high with 18% of New Zealanders attending at least one Pacific arts event in the previous 12 months, up from 14% in the 2014 survey.
Pacific arts events are reaching an ethnically diverse audience made up of Pacific peoples (52%), Māori (40%), Asian New Zealanders (18%) and New Zealand Europeans (14%).
At 79% Pacific peoples’ arts engagement, which is a measure of both attendance and participation, is in line with the record 80% arts engagement of all New Zealanders.
More than half of young New Zealanders (52%) had participated in the Pacific arts in the previous 12 months, which has grown steadily from 2008 when participation was 42%.
Image: New Zealand Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern launches New Zealanders and the Arts: Attitudes, attendance and participation in 2017 in Wellington this week.
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21st September 2017 - NZ THEATRE MONTH TO ‘CELEBRATE AND ELEVATE’ NEW ZEALAND PERFORMING ARTS
6th June 2016 - EQUITY NEW ZEALAND SLAMS REDUCED GOVERNMENT ARTS FUNDING
7th September 2013 - CREATIVE NEW ZEALAND AWARDS $19.5 MILLION TO THE ARTS
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