Just 10 questions away from vibrant arts and culture in the Bay

Cross-pollination between technology industries and creatives, activated spaces in the CBD (year-round) and place-making that honours Māori stories at significant cultural and heritage sites are all things that could happen in the next three years if a region-wide Arts & Culture Strategy is implemented, but first residents will need to have their say on it.

Bay of Plenty locals have just one month to have their say on the draft Arts & Culture strategy, which aims to turn the region into a hub for creativity and innovation, boosting tourism and the economy.

The draft strategy has been developed by a group of local creative, business, economic development and iwi representatives. The steering group has spent two months talking with the sector to create a draft strategy which provides 34 action points for arts and culture-related activities for the next three years.

Steering Group chairperson Sonya Korohina says the draft strategy has six goals, highlighted by ‘the six Vs’ - Visionary, Vocalising, Vibrancy, Valuing, Viability and Vitality. 

“Those six Vs are just a snappy way of summarising our overall vision for the region - which is for a vibrant Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty region, where our shared history with tangata whenua is celebrated, our creative industries thrive and prosper, and our diverse community is enriched by arts and cultural experiences – every day, for everyone,” Sonya says.

“This is a living strategy that will enable our region, and creative economy, to grow and thrive. It’s vast and covers a wide range of action points. We believe that arts and cultural experiences are a vital part of the fabric of life in the Bay so we are determined to see this sector grow exponentially, as well as contribute to and take advantage of tourism and resident population increases.”

The creative economy contributes $46.3 million in gross domestic product (GDP) annually, or 0.7 per cent of the Western Bay sub-region’s GDP. Between 2011 and 2016 Western Bay creative employment grew by 18.5 per cent per annum. 

“We need to build on these strengths and opportunities, and implement transformational shifts to reach our target,” Sonya says, “this is not just about practicing artists or exhibition spaces - it’s about using creative industry to build and sustain our local economy.”

The Strategy will provide an implementation plan supported with 34 actions and commitment from sector partners, including iwi partnership. 

Examples of goals include advancing the night-time economy to include ‘late night’ activation e.g. luminescent cycle paths, night markets; implementing a Talent Attraction Programme that actively promotes the Western Bay of Plenty’s innovation eco-system and targets the attraction of creative people; and developing an agreed and coherent framework for decision-making; linking creatives with business, promoting philanthropic and sponsorship funding, and social return on investment (SROI).

“The process of developing the goals has highlighted the interdependent and diverse nature of the creative sector. We realise that achieving one goal will also make significant headway towards achieving others,” Sonya says. 

“But first we need the residents of Tauranga Moana to have their say. We want you to read the strategy and tell us what you think. It’s been a community-led initiative, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. 

“We want to know if people think we’ve got the balance right. What do you want to see developed in the Bay over the next three years? That’s what we want to hear. We’ve got 30 days, 34 actions and one Arts & Culture Strategy. Tell us what you think!” 

To read the draft Arts & Culture Strategy and have your say go to

www.creativebop.org.nz, send your feedback to artsandculturestrategy@gmail.com or head into the Creative Bay of Plenty office on Willow Street to complete a 10-question survey. 

Submissions open on Thursday, June 1, 2017 and close Friday, June 30, 2017 at 5pm.

The final strategy will go to TCC and WBOPDC for adoption in October/November.

Page reviewed: 01 Jun 2017 4:33pm