John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Study to drive Bay arts and culture

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Creative Tauranga. Photo / John Borren
Creative Tauranga. Photo / John Borren

Funding has been secured for a study needed to inject a new impetus into the Western Bay of Plenty's arts and culture community.

Creative Tauranga has obtained $91,000 from ratepayers to produce a strategy to harness the full potential of the region's arts sector. Western Bay District councillors this week approved a grant of $25,000 towards the cost of producing an arts and culture strategy, with the rest of the money coming from the Tauranga City Council. Much of the cost would be to hire a person to do the work.

The district council was asked to make a one-third contribution towards the year-long $100,000 study but this was reduced to $25,000 on the basis that the council's area held about 25 per cent of Western Bay's total population.

Creative Tauranga's interim general manager Jennifer Pearson told councillors they would still be able to produce the strategy with the lesser contribution. Western Bay mayor Ross Paterson supported the grant, saying "we need to get some focus into this".

A report to the meeting said the appointment of a chief executive for Creative Tauranga was put on hold while the organisation reviewed its direction.

The strategy would be led by the community, based on the process used in Dunedin to set a vision for the arts. Agreement in principle had been obtained from a wide range of art organisations in the Western Bay.

The report said the implementation phase would need multiple investors.

Auckland's art and culture sector contributed $1.8 billion a year to the city's gross domestic product - 2.3 per cent of the city's GDP. Councillors were told that this was on the back of Auckland's own strategy Toi Whitiki, designed to make arts and culture an everyday part of people's lives.

Western Bay District Council's arts funding:

• $50,000 a year to Creative Tauranga.
• $33,000 a year to the Tauranga Art Gallery.
• $50,000 a year for three years to the Katikati Museum.
• $1000 a year to Opus Orchestra.
• $8000 a year to Katikati Open Air Art.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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