Editor: In the first of a new monthly column, Hastings District Council Arts & Culture Manager, Megan Peacock-Coyle, sets out the collective vision for the arts in Hastings and Te Matau-a-Māui.

Hawke’s Bay has a long history of strength in the arts. We’ve produced some of Aotearoa’s top arts practitioners for decades. But that doesn’t mean we are willing to rest on our laurels for years to come. I am just one of many arts practitioners and managers across Te Matau-a-Māui who are collectively committed to creating an ever-more vibrant and thriving arts industry here. 

Our shared vision was first expressed in the creation of the Toi-Tū arts framework back in 2019. Hawke’s Bay artists, producers, managers and advocates came together, to create a strategic framework to support the development of the arts in Hawke’s Bay. Initially funded by Hastings District Council, this framework has recently received $30,000 of Creative New Zealand Local Government Arts funding to be revised and regionalised, in consultation with our arts community, to include Napier, Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa councils. Our kaupapa in this work is to uplift our region’s creativity, knowing that in doing so we will also uplift our people.

But what is in the framework and what does it mean for you, our arts makers, lovers and enthusiasts? You can read the framework in full online, but in short, it boils down to a commitment from all our councils, and our regional arts advocacy group, Ngā Toi Hawke’s Bay, to create a sustainable and vibrant arts industry in our region, which celebrates our local identity and creativity.

Megan Peacock-Coyle

Alongside this, in my role as Manager Arts & Culture for Hastings District Council, we are currently developing an Arts & Culture Strategy specifically for Hastings District Council. Our strategy will be underpinned by the three pou of the Toi-Tū framework – identity, creativity and sustainability. This strategy acknowledges that arts and culture play an important role in the wellbeing of our community; that it helps build social cohesion and community resilience. 

Strategies and policies are an important foundation for the arts in our region, but they are nothing without a commitment to building on that with tangible actions and outcomes which you, our community, can experience. So what are we, at Hastings District Council, working towards? What does a vibrant and thriving arts community in Hastings look like?

It looks like Council’s arts and culture team promoting local businesses, while working with them to support and sponsor arts organisations, schools’ attendance at arts events and local artists to create work.

It looks like us encouraging and growing participation and involvement in the arts, from the grassroots up.

It’s creating pathways for employment in the arts, by advocating for creative industries and roles in arts, tourism and hospitality in Hastings. 

It’s Hastings becoming a nationally-recognised arts destination; attracting more visitors to our region, to experience arts and culture within our growing CBD arts precinct.

It’s building partnerships with Toi Māori groups, to ensure all we do honours Te Tiriti o Waitangi. 

And it’s us, within council, working alongside you, our community, to explore and meet your needs so we can all create a more inclusive and accepting community. 

It’s an exciting time to be involved in the arts in Hastings, and Hawke’s Bay. And we want you on the journey with us. We can’t achieve any of this without you, our community, right there by our sides. So please, as soon as it is safe to do so, please come out and support the arts. 

Nau mai, haere mai, we can’t do this without you.

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