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A Reminder of Toi Ōtautahi and Who We Are and What We Do!


Given it’s a new year and one that already looks like it’s going to be a busy one, we thought it timely to give a little primer on Toi Ōtautahi, and just what it is we do!

What is Toi Ōtautahi?

Toi Ōtautahi is the arts and creativity strategy for Christchurch – originally conceived as a partnership model in 2019 – the strategy is designed to support the growth and development of the local arts sector. It was developed with partners including mana whenua, Rātā Foundation, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and Creative New Zealand.

Who’s involved?

The core team that delivers the strategy is Council based. It consists of the Principal Arts Advisor at Council, Kiri Jarden (Kāi Tahu, Rangitāne); Arts Advisors Jamie Hanton and Olivia Webb; and Website Editor Zara Potts. You can get in touch with us at any time directly (Firstname.Surname@ccc.govt.nz) or via kiaora@toiotautahi.org.nz. The team provides advice to Council, the sector, and community and reports quarterly to our partners.

From time to time, we contract others in to support our mahi.

In 2023 we convened an informal sector group which provides the council arts team with feedback, insight while also championing the arts and creativity. The group is still working out if it has a long-term role and if so, how membership might work. The group meets quarterly.

What do we do?

Kiri leads the team and is responsible for delivering the arts strategy for Council – this includes managing Toi Auaha (The artist studios on Worcester Boulevard); leading public art projects such as commissioning work for libraries and other public spaces; Leading Tīrama Mai, the city’s Puaka Matariki event; Providing advice into Council funding; and providing advice to council and advocating for the local arts sector to regional and national arts funding and strategy organisations. Kiri participates in Regional Arts Network Aotearoa activities.

Jamie looks after the arts and wellbeing space and is involved in the national Te Ora Auaha network. He takes a lead in looking after artists in community residencies and commissions artwork for the city. With Olivia, Jamie provides advice on Creative Community funding; he also co-leads Summer Theatre and co-manages Toi Auaha. Jamie participates in the Christchurch Arts Audience Development hui.

Olivia takes the lead on our development programmes, including mentoring, workshops, and masterclasses which includes (Artist) Life School along with Audrey Baldwin. She provides advice for Sparks! And supports the delivery of other public art projects , and she convenes a sector advisory group which provides feedback and insight to our delivery of the strategy.

Zara looks after the Toi Ōtautahi website and the social media channels, as well as the monthly newsletter. She interviews local artists and provides advice on communications and promotional opportunities. She also helps deliver workshops throughout the year. 

What about funding?

The team provides internal funding advice across a number of funds at council including Strengthening Communities, Events and Festivals, and the Discretionary Response Fund. The Creative Communities Scheme is funded by Creative New Zealand and is assessed by a panel of Ōtautahi-based practitioners gathered from a range of artistic disciplines. Arts advisors can provide specific funding advice or general advice around funding strategies for your practice or arts organisation. If you want to know more about funding opportunities, check out the council website first. It has all the criteria needed and contact details for the funding team who are happy to answer any questions. 

What if I want to promote something?

Then we want to hear from you! If you have a show, an exhibition, a performance or just some new work you want to promote – then drop us a line at kiaora@toiotautahi.org.nz and we’ll promote it for free on the website  – which has event listings – and our social media channels. Please include the event details; venue, date, time, a short synopsis, and a promotional image. We also have an Instagram account, so please let us know if you’d like us to promote your event through this channel.

What is Toi Auaha?

Toi Auaha is a new addition to the city’s art sector. It houses a variety of local artists in one central city space. Resident artists have opportunity to take a lease for up to three years. Toi Auaha is currently full, but you can send us your expression of interest at any time. The building also serves as a space for workshops, masterclasses and exhibitions and is located on the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Rolleston Avenue. If you need space for gatherings or workshops get in touch-we have very friendly rates to use the space.

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