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Kauaeranga Music’s Peter Revell hosts a yearly catalogue of events at the Kauaeranga Hall. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Funding cuts risk art ‘in the sticks’

The effects of a decision to cut a nationwide touring arts programme will be felt out in rural communities, with one gig promoter labelling it “disappointing”.
In its latest funding round, Creative New Zealand decided to drop its support for Arts on Tour – a touring agency which has been providing music and drama to outlying centres in Aotearoa for 27 years.
Instead, Creative NZ gave it transition funding of $88,000 – but Kauaeranga Music’s Peter Revell said this was likely enough for just four shows out of the 12 Arts on Tour hoped to offer provincial promoters in 2023.
“I get disappointed because I feel that there are a lot of things that impact on the smaller communities way more than big cities,” he said.
“This Arts on Tour thing is something else. It’s just taking a little something away from the rural communities.”
Arts on Tour provides an annual “menu” of top-quality performers, promotional material, guidance, and tour management to local gig presenters, including to Peter and his wife, Keri, who have been putting on gigs at the Kauaeranga Hall in Thames since 2015.
Each year, locals and visitors alike watch between four and five shows at the hall which have been provided by Arts on Tour. The other monthly performances provided by Kauaeranga Music are supplemented by resident musos, previous performers, and international acts.
With Arts on Tour’s funding being cut, it means Peter may only be able to host half of his usual calendar of events.
“If I had to put on 12 gigs a year and create all the marketing material and negotiate with the musicians, I wouldn’t be putting on 12 gigs a year,” he said. “I can handle the four or five I have to do myself, but this will just take something away, so rather there being a gig every month in the Kauaeranga Hall it becomes: is there going to be a gig this quarter?”
Creative NZ’s Toi Uru Kahikatea investment programme will support 58 organisations over the next three years, and in a release, arts council chair Caren Rangi said the programme was “expanding the range and reach of the arts in New Zealand”.
However, a petition has been launched and signed by more than 2200 people calling for an “immediate reinstatement of Creative New Zealand ongoing funding to Arts On Tour”.
Peter pointed frustrated fans to sign the petition and even wrote to Creative New Zealand, telling them that Arts on Tour was “crucial to the wellbeing in our town”.
“It’s been fantastic for us because here we are, in a little hoki mai hall in the back of nowhere, getting these absolutely outstanding musicians who have been vetted by Arts on Tour for quality… we get them way out here in the sticks, as does Reefton and Hokitika and other rural places,” he said.
“Now, I’m sensing that all the funding will end up gravitating all of these acts to the bigger population centres, and not to the Reefton’s, the Thames’s, the Coromandel’s.
“Is this the end of Arts on Tour in New Zealand? I really hope not,” he said. “I hope that the [Arts on Tour] board sits down and figures out a new business model that could work.”
DETAILS: To sign the petition, search for ‘Arts on Tour’ at: