28 May 2020

Govt announces multi-million dollar funding boost to help arts sector recover post-Covid

4:13 pm on 28 May 2020

The government has announced a funding boost to help thousands of artists and creatives recover from the impact of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the government's funding boost for the art sector at Te Papa.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces the government's funding boost for the art sector at Te Papa. Photo: RNZ / Yvette McCullough

Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern made the announcement at Te Papa this afternoon.

She said this support was much-needed, because the cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic.

"Museums, galleries and heritage sites closed, and individual artists and arts organisations like dance and theatre companies saw their incomes decimated almost overnight.

"Funding announced today will help them get back on their feet. New jobs will be created, and the sector will innovate and connect with new audiences.

"Now more than ever we need a thriving arts and cultural sector. We saw in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes the potential of creativity and culture to create jobs, drive economic recovery and enhance social wellbeing, and they can help us do it again," Ardern said.

The funding includes:

Budget funding initiatives for the cultural sector include:

  • $25 million for Creative New Zealand
  • $1.4m for the Antarctic Heritage Trust
  • $11.364m to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
  • $18m for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • $2m for the Museum Hardship Fund to be administered by Te Papa National

Budget funding announced for services:

  • $31.8m for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (including funding to prevent the loss of the audio and visual collection which is rapidly deteriorating)
  • $2.03m for Royal New Zealand Ballet
  • $4m for Waitangi National Trust Board

The funding will help to support artists, creative practitioners, and arts organisations over the next two years.

Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said the funding for national organisations, such as Te Papa, would help them maintain their core operations, in the face of the challenges posed by Covid-19.

"This funding for our national organisations will safeguard jobs, and ensure they are able to continue to care for our taonga and provide opportunities for New Zealanders to access the cultural experiences that are so important to our wellbeing.

"Our regional museums and galleries protect taonga and stories important to our communities. They provide jobs and important educational opportunities.

"They are major tourist attractions in our cities and regions, which will be important as we see the return of domestic tourism and look towards establishing a trans-Tasman bubble," Sepuloni said.

Funding boost welcomed

Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision chief executive Honiana Love described the multi million dollar funding boost as overwhelming and said it would be spent on a project that has been years in the making.

She said the money will be spent digitalising its rapidly deteriorating audio and visual collection.

"We're talking about iconic New Zealand collections. A large bulk, almost 200,000 items of the TVNZ collection, including some of our really important early television: Waka Huia, Koha, the early Shortland Street."

Love expects the project will create a significant number of jobs.

"I don't think that we've got to the final number of people we'll be employing, but I would say it'll be around the 30 to 40 mark."

The national museum, Te Papa, re-opened today after Covid-19 forced the longest closure in its history - 68 days.

Chief executive Courtney Johnston said it was "delightful" being able to re-open.

"It feels so good ... I think we all feel this at the moment, going back out into the world is such a special feeling, opening the museum back up to the world is just part of that."

The national museum's funding has been boosted by $18m.

Johnston said the money will be spent on "research, out-reach, support to museums, galleries, archives and whare taonga all around the country. Education services - we're already pivoting our learning programmes, working with the Ministry of Education, producing web content and TV content."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs