The arts are important in strengthening the city and communities. Arts advisors are available to provide advice and are interested in fostering partnerships and collaborative projects.

In 10 years, we want Christchurch to have a reputation as the best place in Aotearoa to live and be creative. How do we make this happen?

Live performance in Christchurch

Strategy for the Arts and Creativity

Toi Ōtautahi - Strategy for the Arts and Creativity in Ōtautahi Christchurch 2019-2024

Mā te pohewa mā te auaha hoki, ka whakapuaki ngā kura e huna ana.

With imagination and creativity a hidden jewel can be revealed.

Toi Ōtautahi/Christchurch Arts is a first for the arts in New Zealand.

It is a new kind of partnership strategy, co-created and to be co-owned with the arts sector and major funding agencies, including Creative New Zealand(external link), ChristchurchNZ(external link)Rātā Foundation(external link) and other key supporters.

Our goal is to create an environment where creative people want to live and produce work by positioning our city as a place where experimentation and artistic risk taking are supported.

The strategy outlines a number of ways that our city can support the growth and development of our local arts sector and attract national and international artists to Christchurch.

The result will bring wide benefits to Christchurch by activating and bringing life to the city, improving our people’s sense of wellbeing and identity, attracting visitors and boosting the economy.

Along with our key supporters, we’re working with the arts community and education sector. It’s a collaborative process, and we want you to be involved.

Keep up to date

Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to get all the updates along the way as this strategy comes together.


The strategy is being developed now – keep track of how it's going here.


Sector advocacy for a new strategy for the arts in Ōtautahi Christchurch, with discussions between Creative New Zealand and Christchurch City Council.

March 2018

Steering Group established to oversee the development of a co-created citywide strategy for the arts. Steering Group membership: (Rotating Chair) Christchurch City Council, Creative NZ, Rātā Foundation, ChristchurchNZ, University of Canterbury, Ara Institute, Word Chch, Arts Centre Trust.

May 2018

Working Party established on recommendation of the Steering Group, to ensure a collaborative approach to the development of the strategy, and to develop a plan to provide broad sector engagement. Working Party membership: (Independent Chair – Huia Lambie) Christchurch City Council, CoCA, Ōtautahi Creative, RAD Collective, mana whenua representatives, Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Court Theatre, Arts Centre Trust.

June 2018

Engagement Planning. The Working Party led development of an engagement plan to ensure opportunities for the sector to provide input for the strategy. Workshops were planned at different times and locations to discuss issues and opportunities for the future of the arts in Christchurch.

July 2018

Arts sector workshops. Two workshops each were held at the XCHC and UC at the Arts Centre, and others held at CoCA, Te Kura Tawhito, and the Akaroa Museum. Attendees were asked to describe why arts are important to them and to Christchurch, and to discuss what the local art scene was like pre-quakes, how it is now, and what they’d like it to look like in 10 years. They were then asked to identify hand brakes and accelerators that would either slow down or speed up progress towards achieving the more creative place they’d like the city to become. All ideas were collated and common themes identified. An online option for providing input for those unable to attend workshops is available.

August 2018

Open forum going in-depth on the themes that came up in the July workshops, and a Mana whenua workshop, focused on the same issues as the wider sector workshops, to ensure the views of mana whenua are included and incorporated into the draft strategy.

September 2018

Online feedback closes, and the first draft of the strategy is developed. The Working Party will discuss all the feedback from the workshops and public forum, and help refine the key themes and key actions that will help achieve the goals. They will then oversee the development of the first draft of the strategy. Later that month, Working Party and Steering Group partners will workshop the first draft. The various members will then share the draft with the leadership of their organisations to ensure their ongoing support, and suggest any edits they think could strengthen the document.

October 2018

A focus group gets together to develop the vision for the strategy.

November/December 2018

The Working Party and Steering Group partners review the draft strategy.

January/February 2019

The Steering Group considers how the Strategy will be implemented.

March/April 2019

The full Draft Strategy for the Arts goes out for public consultation.

Later in 2019

All feedback received from the community will be collated and considered to see how the feedback could be used to improve the various parts of the strategy document. The Steering Group partners will consider the feedback and recommend any final amendments to the strategy.

An implementation plan is developed. It ensures that specific actions are taken to achieve the strategy's goals – and different organisations may lead different actions.

Arts in Christchurch

Christchurch City Council is committed to achieving an enlivened and creative city, where the arts are recognised as being essential to cultural and social well-being.

Pou hihiri
Pou rarama 
Pou o te whakaaro
Pou o te tangata
Pou o te aroha
Te Pou e here nei I a tatou              
Mauri ora ki a tatou
Haumi e
Hui e
Taiki e
May clarity be yours
May understanding be yours
through reflection
through personal endeavour
through respect
the virtues which bind us as one
may we be filled with wellbeing

The Arts Policy and Strategy [PDF, 135 KB] aims to support the development of local artists, generate new opportunities for employment and artistic expression and participation, as well as improving the quality of the built environment through public arts.

Arts advisors are available to provide advice and assistance to artists, arts organisations and the wider community, and are interested in fostering partnerships and collaborative projects.

Council provides a range of funding mechanisms to support arts and cultural projects, creative organisations and businesses, including:

Toi Māori

The Council is committed to local Māori arts practice and language development.

Māori arts celebrate our unique past and are making an invaluable contribution to the city’s rebuild. Council has legislated responsibilities to Māori which includes ensuring there are opportunities for Māori to participate in public life.

Promoting and developing traditional and contemporary Māori arts practices and language in Ōtautahi Christchurch is an important component of this and is given effect through Council’s Arts Policy and Strategy.

Arts in the rebuild

Arts and culture have a major role to play in the rebuild and revitalisation of our city.

Creative life is being brought back to the central city with a number of anchor projects in the central city that will draw on the rich natural and cultural heritage of the city, and provide Christchurch with world-class facilities, including:

Council is also encouraging developers to enhance significant building work underway in the city through a hoarding rebate scheme.