Time For Change
Following the earthquakes my immediate reaction was “I need to escape this place!” and for a 25 year old this prospect together with the desire to travel and experience overseas cultures, collided head on. However, it didn’t take me long to decide to stay in NZ and dedicate my time to helping as much as I could to make our city a better place. It is that decision that has allowed me to be here this evening.
After visiting Melbourne briefly at the end of 2011 I realised that one of the things that I missed terribly in our city was art and culture. Not just art in a gallery, but all forms of art. I realised that art meant a lot to me and that it was more than just a painting on a wall, more than just watching a play or watching any type of dance or musical performance. Art was imbedded in our culture, and culture was in our art. Art brings us all together. The various art forms shape communities and our thinking. They tell us about our history, represent our present and inspire our future.
I was asked recently if I thought that spending money on the arts was really appropriate when we have so many other worthy causes and charities we could be supporting. I believe that all art forms are important to the recovery and vitality of communities. They boost morale and give people hope and pride.
I have seen first-hand the benefits of supporting the arts in my own family. My brother Tasman studied here at Southern Ballet, and with the help of many generous scholarships and individuals he was able to study at the Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg.
He is now dancing professionally in St Petersburg and has flown back home and organised performances with the Dame Malvina Major Foundation to raise money for the Theatre Royal Rebuild, and teach at his old school. He thrives on giving back to the community and providing us with inspiration. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of others.
But wouldn't it be great to see more of our youth having similar opportunities with more support from our governing bodies? Also, imagine if all art forms in our city were more accessible to all, including to our citizens who might not have the budget to attend or have considered it was an option for them?
Christchurch has always been a city with a rich arts history and we now have the opportunity to make it even better.
We are lucky to have so many people invested in our city. Social Enterprise is another way we are able to give back while creating sustainability for our communities with jobs and life experiences. This allows our city to grow. It would be fantastic to see support from governing bodies, in both the start up of these valuable initiatives and ongoing support to ensure they flourish and thrive for the benefit of our city and its people as a whole.
I’m extremely passionate about having a clean, green and vibrant city, with safe and sustainable communities that inspire both social enterprise and the arts.
I will continue to be a strong voice for greater support of the arts and social enterprise in our city and the accessibility of them to us all.