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Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni delivers speech on ‘Heritage and Cultural Diversity in Crisis’ theme

News: 5 October 2022

Can you imagine a world without culture? UNESCO’s Mondiacult 2022 Conference, held in Mexico 28-30 September, posed that question as it invited the international community to engage jointly on a continuous reflection on cultural policies to tackle global challenges.

The aim of Mondiacult is to shape a more robust and resilient cultural sector, fully anchored in the perspectives of sustainable development as well as promotion of solidarity, peace and security.

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni addressed the conference remotely by video, speaking on the theme: ‘Heritage and Cultural Diversity in Crisis’, with a focus on indigenous peoples.

The Minister addressed the impacts of COVID-19 on mātauranga Māori, the Government’s investments to support the cultural sector through challenging times, the impact of climate change on the Pacific and the new Matariki public holiday “that distinctly recognises and celebrates our indigenous world view, Te Ao Māori”.

“For many countries, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated pre-existing structural, systematic and funding inequalities for indigenous peoples,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “Indigenous communities have been hit particularly hard, threatening the sustainability of indigenous heritage – both tangible and intangible.

“I know that in Aotearoa New Zealand, the pandemic impacted the transmission of mātauranga Māori, or traditional knowledge, systems and practices; accessibility to mātauranga and taonga – cultural assets – in national heritage collections; and participation in Māori cultural activities.

“In May 2020, the New Zealand Government announced our Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme, a landmark investment of $495 million over four years in New Zealand’s cultural recovery. The Programme included a wide range of initiatives to support Māori communities to protect vulnerable areas of mātauranga Māori.”

The Minister concluded by stressing the importance of bringing indigenous communities into government policy, design and decision-making processes. “This enables us to have a different conversation, but more importantly, focuses on intergenerational, sustainable transformation that takes into account the wellbeing of our whanau (families) and communities.”

Watch the above video of Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni's address to UNESCO’s Mondiacult 2022 Conference.

Updated on 11th October 2022