Future-proofing NZ‘s arts, culture and heritage

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly.

The first funding round of the Cultural Sector Innovation Fund has opened, with the goal of supporting innovative arts, culture and heritage projects in Aotearoa.

The Innovation Fund will be delivered through a nationwide series of events called Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa. This will be a rolling programme of events which will take place in regions across the country.

The Innovation Fund is part of the Government’s $374 million Arts and Culture Covid Recovery Programme.

As well as supporting innovative arts and culture projects the fund also further supports the sector to adapt and thrive, says Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni.

“Fittingly for a fund focused on innovation, I’m excited that Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa, provides us with an opportunity to take a different approach to its delivery – one that’s designed to support collaboration.

“I hear a lot of creative ideas from people who are passionate about arts, culture and heritage. This funding aims to bring those ideas to fruition, and comes with an opportunity for the sector to be bold.”

It provides support for the sector to work alongside others to collectively design more sustainable, resilient ways of working, and to remove barriers to access and participation for everyone, says Sepuloni.

“Over two and a half days participants in Te Urungi will be supported by mentors and experts to collaborate and develop their ideas. At the end of each event, the most promising projects will receive funding to support their further development.”

There is also a focus on supporting projects that will help safeguard mātauranga Māori while fostering the potential of this rich system of indigenous knowledge, she says.

“The ambition with Te Urungi is to nurture an ongoing, collaborative ecosystem dedicated to exploring innovative solutions around arts, culture and heritage for the duration of this fund and beyond,” says Sepuloni.

The name of the events programme, Te Urungi, references the steering paddle of the waka hourua. This paddle guides these ocean-going waka, driving them towards their destination with stability and agility.

Registrations are open to teams and individuals who work in arts, culture and heritage, as well as communities, the tech sector and entrepreneurs.

Anyone who has an idea for an innovative project with the potential to increase sustainability, access and participation or commercial opportunities within the arts sector are encouraged to register.

Face-to-face Te Urungi: Innovating Aotearoa events will be held around the country, beginning in Te Whanganui-a-Tara the Wellington region on April 30.

There will also be online events, the first is scheduled for May 12.

Registrations will open on April 14. For more information visit: mch.govt.nz/innovation-fund

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