Jump to content


8 Dec 2021

Painting a picture of the arts in Waikato

More awareness of the role arts, culture and creativity plays in a COVID-19 environment is critical.

That’s one of the key findings from the latest State of the Arts survey which aims to measure trends and identify issues across the arts sector in Aotearoa.

530 creatives from around the country completed the 12-question survey, with 96 respondents being from the Waikato.

Out of applicable respondents, 95% said recognition of the role arts, culture and creativity play was most vital when asked “what was most important in the face of ongoing COVID-19 disruption?”. The following comment was made by one respondent.

“The arts are not recognised enough as a vital part of our culture, sense of community and its positive impact on mental health. More national promotional material around these points would help artists to be valued and paid properly.”

Sector guidelines for operating at different alert levels (92%), strengthening community arts activity (91%), mental health support (90%) and emergency relief funding during alert levels 4 and 3 (90%) was also a major focus.

Creative Waikato CEO Dr Jeremy Mayall says the survey gives an important insight into the arts, culture and creative sectors.

“Within our own sector, we know that art, culture and creativity is a stress relief, an inspiration, a gift of knowledge, a pathway to shared understanding. It supports our mental and physical wellbeing.”

“But now we’ve heard that it’s essential to celebrate this more widely – and that means continuing to advocate for the sector and communicating the importance of creativity in all shapes and forms to all New Zealanders.”

It’s no secret that COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns have impacted the creative sector.

Nearly all (94%) of Waikato respondents reported being affected by the latest COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns.

The majority indicated their creative work would be impacted by two months to one year, with 26% indicating two to three months, 16% indicating four to six months, and 10% indicating seven months to one year.

Money concerns were also top of mind for Waikato creatives, with respondents tending towards ‘pessimism’ when asked to rate their financial position. Overall, the average weighting was 3.1 out of 6 (from 1, meaning very pessimistic to 6, meaning very optimistic).

The quarterly survey was run by Dovetail, an independent New Zealand research company. It aims to measure trends over time, allowing more effective sector advocacy on behalf of individuals and organisations.

Creative Waikato collaborated on the research with Toi o Taraika Arts Wellington, with the support of Wellington City Council (Pōneke), Te Taumata Toi-a-Iwi (Tāmaki Makaurau) and Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

The next State of the Arts survey will be live in early 2022.