Arts and culture have always been central to Christchurch’s unique character and sense of identity and a source of pride to the people of Christchurch.

Cultural recovery is a core part of greater Christchurch’s rebuild. It means both restoring what was there – where this is possible – and creating new opportunities that ensure a rich and diverse cultural offering, now and in the future.  

Gap filler, by Guy Jensen

Gap filler event

Credit: image by Guy Jensen courtesy of Creative New Zealand

Through experience we have learnt the scope and nature of the recovery is subject to constant change. Following initial efforts, it has become increasingly apparent that the transitional period, prior to the completion of more permanent infrastructure projects, will take considerably longer than first anticipated.

In the meantime the sector is getting on with it, with energy and determination. While central government can provide funding support and leadership in some areas, much of the momentum is coming from the grassroots, with new initiatives, adaptations and creative hubs growing from the rubble, in new or temporary spaces, and in a myriad of ways.

Immediately after the earthquakes, innovative people and organisations began seizing opportunities, adapting to new circumstances and creating original arts and cultural experiences wherever and however they could. Small and large institutions alike have created opportunity out of adversity, discovering new and sometimes better ways of doing things.

Alongside local activity, the joint agency group established by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is working with local stakeholders to help foster collaboration, identify priorities and back new ideas.

This document sets out a vision for the arts and cultural sector and strategies for achieving that vision.  It details what has been achieved to date as well as current and planned projects for arts and cultural recovery.

These projects are about testing new ideas and finding the right solutions in a shifting environment.  The Programme does not attempt to impose a top-down strategy on a sector which continues to lead its own recovery. Instead, it follows that lead and reflects the flexibility necessary to respond to the emerging needs of the creative sector as the rebuild evolves.


Next steps

The Arts and Culture Recovery Programme for Greater Christchurch is not a static document.  It will continue to evolve as the rebuild takes shape, current projects are completed, new ideas are tested and refined and further opportunities emerge to create a truly exciting, flourishing arts and cultural sector.   

MCH will continue to work with the Joint Agency Group (JAG) and local stakeholder groups to assess the effectiveness of the strategies outlined in this programme, and will report publicly on the progress of current projects as well as new developments through periodic updates of this programme online.    

Updated on 31st July 2015