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As a former Labour Minister of Arts and Culture I was shocked to hear that the Arts Council had decided to remove the annual subsidy to the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare festival for secondary school students. The sum of money involved ($31,000) isn’t massive. But the decision to cut the subsidy hits at a very significant secondary school cultural festival. The second biggest secondary school in the country, Mt Albert Grammar School, smack in the middle of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s electorate, has performed very well at these Sheilah Winn competitions, with several students, winning scholarships including recently an African international student at the school. The reasons advanced by Creative New Zealand for abolishing the grant related to some weird notion that Shakespeare is part of imperialism; that New Zealand should be “de-colonised”, and presumably that all students should be force-fed kapa haka and Te Ao Maori instead.

The decision was taken by a team that Jacinda Ardern’s government appointed. Their appointments were approved by her caucus of 65 Labour MPs. Each of those MPs claims to uphold Labour Party traditions when they clearly don’t. Peter Fraser, one of the founders of the Labour Party, established state funding for arts and culture, and was, himself, an enthusiastic devotee of Shakespeare. In 1948, as Prime Minister, he made a special trip to Auckland to see Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Fraser knew his Shakespeare and would often choose a relevant quote when speaking in Parliament.

It’s important that those destructive government appointees to Creative New Zealand should be identified so that their contempt for New Zealand’s wider heritage, no matter which of the cultures represented in modern New Zealand he/she comes from, can be known. They are cultural vandals. Did any of them understand that in modern New Zealand, the Arts gain strength from their diverse origins, that “cancel culture” is no culture at all? Apparently not. If any of the named opposed the final decision, he or she should have the courage to stand up and tell us, or forever live with a black spot beside their names.

The Arts Council Board website shows the membership: The dates are when the person’s term expires.

Caren Rangi (Chair) [November 2024]

Michael Prentice (Deputy Chair) [November 2024]

Roger King [September 2022]

Garth Gallaway [April 2023]

Janine Morrell-Gunn [September 2022]

Riria Hotere-Barnes [September 2022]

John Ong [September 2022]

Robyn Hunt [November 2023]

Kura Moeahu [November 2023]

Ane Tonga [November 2024]

Hilary Poole [November 2024]

Bonita Bigham [July 2025]

Whetu Fala [June 2025]

The Chief Executive of the New Zealand Arts Council who has made inflammatory comments is Stephen Wainwright

3,899 views90 comments

90 תגובות

19 באוק׳ 2022

There is a case for taxpayer funding art and culture for children. I fail to see it for adults. Creative NZ appears to comprise a lot of grossly overpaid bureaucrats. Shut it down and repurpose the funds.

בתשובה לפוסט של

Good idea. Why should politicians and bureaucrats be making deisions about art and culture? Why can't people be allowed to decide for themselves what they like or do not like? By having access to other people's money, a minority of politicians and bureacrats become entitled to decide what they want to promote as art and culture and impose their choices on the rest of the people that provided the money. Art and culture should develop according to the perceptions and preferrences of the people rather than being dictated by politicians, bureaucrats and their influential friends. The government (politicians, bureacrats and influential busybodies) have no justification for deciding what should be approved and promoted or disapproved of and not promoted. Instead of taking, borrowing and spending other…


Andy Espersen writes:

But why did Ardern intervene to veto the decision of the committee she herself had appointed? I can only suggest that she suddenly realised that she and her cancel-culture-happy followers would become the laughing stock of the world if her government went along with the decision.

You write : “Cancel culture” is no culture at all". You are so right, Michael Bassett. Moreover, "cancel-culture", if you think about it, actually presupposes "create-culture". Ardern and her laughable Creative New Zealand Arts Board actively and consciously intend to create one as yet non-existing culture. But culture, like living languages, just happen - they develop naturally over time. Culture, like a language, cannot be consciously created by anyb…



Take away $31k from schools and give $2.75m to the mongrel mob for drug rehab.

Go figure.


Arts council and minister 🤡💤💩


Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
19 באוק׳ 2022

I'm learning te reo. And, yes, the Maori language and culture does have a place in New Zealand. I'm learning it because I want to, and am paying for the course myself.


New Zealand Europeans bought their own culture to New Zealand, that had so many benefits to Maori, that they still use today.

People like Willie Jackson make me fucking angry. Europeans, that have made , for the most part New Zealand what it is, a first world country, DO HAVE A CULTURE. they brought it with them.

And don't feed me that " we were here first" bullshit.

Who the hell cares?

The Maori language is beautiful, but when spoken only in Maori. Not te fucking manglis…

בתשובה לפוסט של

with you buddy


19 באוק׳ 2022

Sad to say just checked their website and their givealittle website, I hope they crash and burn. They are being canceled by their own.

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