Local Government Magazine

Ara Toi Otepoti: Dunedin’s Arts and Culture Strategy is highly commended

Creative New Zealand Excellence Award for Best Creative Place (H.C.1) Featured Image

At the 2016 LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards

Creative New Zealand Excellence Award for Best Creative Place.

Highly Commended: Dunedin City Council’s ‘Ara Toi Otepoti: Dunedin’s Arts and Culture Strategy’.

Dunedin City Council has worked with its community to develop a bold and successful arts and culture strategy which has already seen the city become a UNESCO City of Literature.

The Ara Toi Otepoti – Our Creative Future (Ara Toi) strategy – drew on national and international good practice by working in partnership with communities and key stakeholders, such as Kai Tahu. The result has been broad support for the objective to be one of the world’s great small cities for arts and culture.

The strategy sprang from a wide-ranging community engagement process in 2010/11 to help the council identify priorities for the future of Dunedin.

Feedback included a strong feeling that arts and culture are strongly linked to the city’s strategic objectives like economic development and social wellbeing.

As a result, the city developed the strategy to make creativity a part of every aspect of city life. It invested $245,000 to kick-start delivery and endorsed establishment of the Creative Dunedin Partnership, a governance group that brings together organisations and community representatives committed to taking an active role.

Key achievements to date also include strong community input into the Warehouse Precinct Revitalisation Plan to breathe new life into an historic area of Dunedin and protect and enhance the city’s significant built heritage.

Overall, for an investment of about $1.5 million of public money, the strategy has seen about $50 million of private investment in the area, including businesses supporting a street art programme and many buildings being brought back into use.

Judges praised the council’s strong leadership, the collaborative nature of the project, its strong engagement and full mix of art and cultural forms. They also highlighted the “outstanding commitment from the council which is resulting in strong support from the private sector and international recognition”.

This article was first published in the August 2016 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

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