June 10, 2009

DANZ answers Rodney Hide

John Smythe      posted 10 Jun 2009, 09:52 PM / edited 11 Jun 2009, 04:23 PM


10 Jun 2009


While some may believe it wise to restrict local government spending on ‘community outcomes’ in times of recession, we believe it is precisely the social and community outcomes that will impact on wellbeing and help to maintain morale during the hard times ahead.

Dance within recreation has a strong positive affect on morale and health. There have been numerous articles written and studies done on how societal behaviour turns towards entertainment and recreation activities during times of financial hardship.

It has also been shown through research the positive impact that the arts, including dance, have on psychological wellbeing.

“Through dance people express themselves and their individual or collective identity. It is a healthy and fairly inexpensive activity. Dance should be encouraged by all in our present times”, says Tania Kopytko, DANZ Executive Director.

The recent study by Victoria University concluded that “Youth who did any art (music, dance, visual arts) were statistically better off psychologically than those who did none. Youth who did kapa haka or were in Pasifika cultural groups had the highest sense of identity, connectedness and wellbeing of all groups.”

Creative New Zealand’s 2008 research, New Zealanders and the Arts: Attitudes, Attendance and participation in 2008, showed that the majority of New Zealanders support public funding of the Arts. At least 70% of adults 15 and over agreed that:

  • the arts should receive public funding
  • my local council should give money to support the arts
  • my community would be poorer without the arts
  • the arts contribute positively to the economy

The New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA) have created a position document on the role and benefits of recreation.

Dance is the 8th most popular physical activity in New Zealand (SPARC Active NZ Survey 2007/08)  


I agree with all that – as far as it goes. What I don’t understand it why the VUW survey disregards live theatre (not to mention the screen arts and radio) as an important part of arts practice. And why limit the survey to ‘ethnic arts’? Are we to take it that NZ Pakeha arts and the whole tradition of arts practice with European origins are regarded as having no value in our lives? Someone please explain.

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