January 21, 2020

Whanganui & Partners looking to lift creative economy in 2020

Whanganui & Partners looking to lift creative economy in 2020
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Whanganui & Partners is committed to lifting the value of the creative economy in Whanganui in 2020.

“Our creative community is something we’re known for,” said Mark Ward, Whanganui & Partners’ Chief Executive. “From an economic development perspective, this creative identity has important flow-on effects in terms of attracting tourism and positioning Whanganui as a desirable place to live.”

Creative industries also make a direct contribution to the economy, generating $31.6 million in annual GDP. However, Ward says that the sector can be challenging for workers.

“While employment in most sectors has been growing, the number of people working full-time in the creative sector has fallen slightly since 2010,” Ward said. “This is no reflection of the amazing depth and breadth of creative talent in Whanganui. Our arts scene is world-class, but a changing economy makes it harder for people to make a full-time living from creative work.”  

Creative New Zealand report issued earlier this year found that the median creative income of artists is only $15,000. The report identified just two creative industries where workers make a median income above the national average: video game development and media production.

“Attracting these more lucrative industries to Whanganui is one way to creative higher paying jobs for our creative workers,” Ward said. “Another way would be to help our existing businesses see how they can incorporate more creative work into their operations. There is also potential to further enhance our arts events and the positioning of arts experiences as must-dos for visitors.”

Whanganui & Partners will soon be recruiting for a Strategic Lead – Creative Industries following Riah King-Wall’s departure to pursue advanced study overseas. Ward says whoever fills the role will be taking on leadership of the sector at an exciting time.

“The economy is booming, Whanganui is growing, and we’re increasingly known as an attractive and interesting place to live. There’s a lot of opportunity here, and a lot of important work has already been done in this area. The new Strategic Lead will have a chance to take advantage of that for the benefit of the entire sector.”

“We believe Whanganui could soon be the best place in New Zealand for visual artists, musicians, performance artists and writers to make a comfortable and sustainable living off their work.”

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