Formed in 2014, WeCreate is the alliance of NZ creative industry associations, supported by the major Arts & Culture agencies and leading businesses, with the goal of joining with government in an Action Plan to recognise and grow the sector’s contribution to New Zealand’s wellbeing and prosperity.
‘We know [the arts and creativity] make an economic contribution and we know it’s essential to our wellbeing and our lives. Now we, as a government, can play a role in that. We can play a role in it by creating the ecosystem in which the creative sector can thrive.’ Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, Te Auaha, Wellington, February 2018.
Creativity is a proven, and intensifying, global driver of social, cultural, educational, and economic wellbeing.
- drive growth in the digital age through innovation & productivity
- diversify our output beyond traditional industries
- support sustainable careers & businesses, in the sector, & increasingly in other industries
- grow exports globally, weightlessly, & often tariff-free
- have a very low environmental impact
- improve educational outcomes
- offer opportunities for Māori, Pasifika, women, small business and regional development
- enhance our cultural pride, inclusion, access, participation & identity.
The UK is the world leader in transforming its creative economy, via an industry-government partnership formed in 2013, and co-chaired by the Secretaries of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Since the launch of the UK strategy six years ago, their creative sector has grown at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the economy, increasing creative exports by 84% and creative sector employment by 30%.
The growth potential of our creative sector is inextricably linked with a vibrant Arts & Culture sector, dependent on an education system with creativity at its heart, and is at the forefront of technological innovation – as most creative industries are already highly digital. Genuinely supporting and embedding arts, culture and creativity across government will improve wellbeing, sustainability and resilience, and produce the ideas and talent that are the foundations of our creative industries.
In 2016 WeCreate commissioned NZIER to measure the creative sector’s economic value. Although available data has not kept pace with changing business models and occupations in the sector (which is a global challenge), NZIER’s The Evolution of Kiwi Innovation, estimated that the creative industries, combined with the impact of creative people in non-creative industries, contributed $17.5bn to GDP and over 131,000 jobs.
Over the past two years, WeCreate has facilitated an in-depth consultation process with both industry and government to develop its Action Plan for growth.
WeCreate’s Creative Economy Conversation (September 2017), attended by 120 industry and government participants, gave a mandate for a strategic plan, set goals for growth, and led to the formation of six industry Working Groups, and an informal pan-Ministry advisory group to develop the Action Plan.
In May 2018 WeCreate jointly presented (with MBIE and NZ Tech) forums focussed on Createch – the emerging genre in which technology enables creativity to produce new value-added products, services or experiences – and vice versa. The Createch keynote speaker was Christine Losecaat, MBE, a leader of the UK’s creative sector strategy, who also met with Prime Minister Ardern, and Ministers Parker and Curran.
September 2018 saw the second Creative Economy Conversation opened by the Prime Minister, and a full day of industry-government collaboration, with over 100 attendees, to further inform and give feedback on WeCreate’s draft Action Plan.
Alongside developing the Action Plan, WeCreate has advocated for, and provided advice on, the creative sector in many government initiatives including the digital economy, copyright, sustainable careers, trade and education.
WeCreate has formed valuable relationships with trade officials at MFAT and NZTE and in April 2019, co-hosted the Creative Digital Trade Conversation, bringing industry and officials together to inform New Zealand’s participation in the WTO Digital Trade negotiations, and to build understanding and connections in the rapidly-evolving sphere of creative digital exports.
WeCreate were delighted to learn in June 2019 that the creative sector would be recognised for the first time as an economic contributor in the Industry Transformation Plans, and that from 2020 the government will ‘partner with industry body WeCreate on the implementation of key recommendations from its action plan’ (From the Knowledge Wave to the Digital Age, July 2, 2019).