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Government’s support delivers path to recovery for arts and culture sector

Ministers’ release: 13 May 2022

Beehive Media Release

  • 295 events covering at least 607 performances that have had to cancel or suffered losses due to COVID-19 have had their costs reimbursed, with total support paid out to events now exceeding $20 million
  • 186 future events in 2022 and 2023 have also received cover
  • 64 organisations have been saved from imminent closure
  • 1253 self-employed workers in the arts and culture sector have received specific support

The Government has today released data for three key Government support funds which were designed to support organisations, jobs and peoples livelihoods in the arts and culture sector.

“As a result of the Government’s strong investment in the arts and culture sector in response to the pandemic, the sector can now begin to look forward with confidence, as we overcome the Omicron peak,” Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni said.

“Results shows a sector that is on the path to a promising recovery. Our Government’s efforts to support organisations and people who work in the cultural sector survive the impacts of COVID-19 is beginning to pay dividends,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“The Omicron wave was particularly challenging for the arts and culture sector, that’s why we moved quickly to shore up support through the $121 million Omicron package to help the sector survive these tough times. 

“This support has protected jobs, kept many organisations from closing and cushioned the blow for the arts and culture sector – and now audiences can look forward to enjoying Aotearoa New Zealand’s amazing talents once again.  

“Each dollar of support goes toward keeping this important cultural and economic ecosystem viable, protecting jobs and providing opportunities for artists, crew, venues, set designers, costumers, managers, social service providers, art therapists, ticketing agents and many more who work in the sector. These are real people who make a living from delivering arts and cultural experiences.   

“It was critical that the Government moved to protect Aotearoa’s cultural infrastructure, so that when COVID-19 conditions allowed audiences to safely return and people to experience and participate in arts and culture in person, our cultural organisations remained viable enough to restart operations.  

“In particular for our events sector there are nearly 200 future events currently covered by the Arts and Culture Event Support Scheme. These eligible events can continue to plan with confidence that if conditions change and they need to cancel or postpone due to COVID-19 public health restrictions, they’ll be supported to pay artists and crew lined up to work those events.  

“The Government is committed to supporting Aotearoa’s arts and culture sector because of the huge contribution it makes to individual and community wellbeing. The arts and culture sector are continuing to play an important part in our recovery. 

“The wider Arts and Culture COVID recovery programme goes beyond helping the sector just survive the impacts of the pandemic, it includes initiatives designed with the future in mind. They encourage innovation, resilience and building stronger community arts and culture networks so that all people across the country can access, participate in and enjoy arts and culture at all levels. 

“However, COVID-19 is not over, and the arts and culture sector will need to continue to adapt to new challenges such as reduced audiences, uncertainty, and financial insecurity. The Government is assessing how to use the remaining funding more effectively to drive shifts in the sector to best support recovery, rebuilding and resilience,” said Carmel Sepuloni. 

Updated on 16th May 2022