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4 Jul 2024

The RE:ACT Tour: Mission Complete

Spanning 16 weeks across ten districts in the Waikato region, the RE:ACT Tour included visits to schools, aged care facilities, arts groups and individuals – it created a movement that sparked creative joy and curiosity, and nurtured the flames of creativity already existing in Waikato’s unique spaces and places. Led by two passionate members of the Creative Waikato (CW) Creative Development team, the tour aimed to connect, elevate and encourage creative communities, championing the idea that a future where arts, culture and creativity are valued and nurtured in all our communities is possible. Although the tour has now come to an end, that doesn’t mean the mahi stops here. It’s just the beginning.

At CW, we aim to uplift our bold and ambitious creative sector by supporting and empowering artists and creatives of all kinds. We want to help them strengthen their communities through their creativity by providing the resources and encouragement they need to thrive in their creative practices.

Mahia te mahi, hei painga mo te iwi. 

To help achieve this goal, CW brought on powerhouse creative humans Dujon Cullingford and Leah Bell. They immediately set to work towards these key objectives:


  • Understanding the unique needs and priorities of our districts’ creative communities.
  • Helping our creative communities to feel seen and heard.
  • Meeting with our communities in-person. No matter where they sat in their communities, whether active creatives, arts organisations or even supporters of local creative communities, they wanted to build meaningful, lasting relationships.
  • To build capability of local creatives by offering CW’s array of resources that will help local artists’ creative practice’s flourish and thrive.
  • Inspire with live performances.
With their targets set, the real mahi began.

Together, they worked tirelessly: planning, reaching out to the districts and connecting with key community figures, community groups, artists, creative communities, schools and anywhere else that called for assistance or an injection of creative play and connection. The key was spending the time to understand the communities they were engaging with, learning their needs, and figuring out how CW could support them.

With the course of action drawn, they knew they needed assistance in this massive undertaking. Dujon and Leah handpicked their right-hand humans to help inspire. They offered a selection of established Waikato creatives and musicians this paid opportunity to share their experiences, talent, skills and stories. With their team of superhumans set, they began their mission.

The RE:ACT tour kicked off in March 2024 and immediately received an amazing response. During the tour, Dujon and Leah experienced both highs and challenges. The highs included seeing communities become engaged and invigorated by their visits, while one of the challenges was recognising the need for greater prioritisation of arts, culture and creativity in some of our smaller districts to enhance community wellbeing through improved access to vital resources and materials. 

Dujon reflects, “The RE:ACT tour allowed us to strengthen some amazing relationships with people who completely blew us away with their skill, dedication, and community spirit. We found that creativity thrives uniquely in each district, and we had to lean on key local leaders to truly understand the landscape and provide meaningful support. Working with kaumātua and taiohi in their spaces was particularly uplifting.”

Waikato locals are special. Dujon and Leah recognised that each individual creative contributed to a complex mosaic that combined local arts and culture to create a unique design that showcases the Waikato region and highlights how we are rich in talent and diversity, setting us apart from the rest of the world. “The people, the stories – each creative person has a wealth of lived experience. Sitting down and listening to these stories brought an overwhelming sense of humanity to our engagement,” Dujon said.

At the conclusion of the tour, they built upon what they saw and learned and are currently working to put on a special wānanga called Tū Maia, Tū Toi. It has been designed to uplift, support and encourage rangatahi and offer them an opportunity to develop and celebrate their creative spirit and work. “During the RE:ACT tour, we witnessed the need for younger artists to upskill, connect and develop. We are now running a rangatahi wānanga focusing on gathering 50 teenagers for three days of arts, culture and personal development. Many of the connections made in the district have been instrumental in this support,” Dujon explained.

The RE:ACT tour highlighted how powerful creativity can be in bringing people together and helping them grow across the Waikato region. By connecting with different groups, understanding their needs, and sharing resources, the tour boosted the creative spirit and began to build strong, lasting relationships. It underscored the importance of arts, culture and creativity for community wellbeing. Although this tour has ended, it marks just the beginning of a journey to nurture and celebrate the region’s amazing talent and diversity, ensuring that creative sparks continue to inspire the future of Waikato.

Want to share your creative spark, because we want to celebrate you! Check out Creativity Lives in Waikato, take a selfie on our Instagram and Facebook filter and share your stories and creative practice so we can share it with the world.