There was an interesting statistic that was determined by the New Zealand’s Arts Council that the record growth in the popularity of Pacific art in New Zealand was being driven by the community – especially its youth.
According to the latest survey by the funding agency Creative New Zealand, a record 18 percent of New Zealanders attended at least one Pacific arts event last year. Just over half this audience was made up of Pacific peoples, with Māori comprising 40 percent. Pākeha and Asian New Zealanders were 14 and 18 percent respectively.
The youth element is also strong.
The survey showed 52 percent of young New Zealanders, aged 10-14 years, participated in the Pacific arts in the previous 12 months. It has grown steadily from 2008 when participation was 42 percent. This growth has been driven by increases in young people’s involvement in Pacific singing, dancing and music with four in ten (44 percent) taking part.
The deputy chair of the Arts Council, Caren Rangi, said the Pacific community had itself to thank for the increase. “I know that, at the Arts Council, we’re seeing a blossoming of all sorts of art forms by Pacific artists from heritage right through to contemporary,” Ms Rangi said.
According to the survey, young people who identify as Pacific are also more likely than the national average to want to increase their involvement in Pacific arts. “There is an appetite among young people for greater participation which could lead on to increased levels of participation in adult life,” Creative NZ Arts Council deputy chair Caren Rangi said.
“It’s great to see not only are more New Zealanders taking opportunities to experience the rich cultural diversity Pacific arts bring to this country but also that Pacific peoples are so highly engaged in a wide range of art forms,” Ms Rangi said.