Patrick Gower questions why the arts sector doesn't receive more funding

  • 08/02/2023

Creative New Zealand has announced it will be getting a $22 million cash injection to support established arts and cultural festivals. 

Yet none of that money will be going to Te Matatini - arguably New Zealand's biggest cultural festival which draws in an international audience and takes place at Eden Park in a couple of weeks. 

In the past year, the Government gave the NZ Symphony Orchestra nearly $20 million.

Creative NZ itself got nearly $17m before the $22m boost, while the Royal New Zealand Ballet got $8m. Te Matanini got just less than $3m.

Newshub journalist Patrick Gower said the funding should be equitable - and there should be more of it.

"I think the solution is to fund all of [the arts sector] more," he said, appearing on AM's panel. 

"Te Matatini - kapa haka - is going to be the dance that binds this country together for centuries to come, we cannot fund that enough."

Gower said he didn't see the arts sector as a funding issue.

"I personally love ballet, I love the symphony orchestra as well - every time I see that I don't look at that and think, 'How much money are we spending on this stuff?' I look at that and think, 'Thank you to these wonderful directors, dancers [and] artists that have put this stuff on.

"If it causes inflation, it causes inflation of my soul."

Responding to Gower's comments, a humoured AM host Ryan Bridge said he was "struggling" with his colleague's view.

"So what if the cost of your bread goes up $2 a bloody loaf? I'm going to go watch the ballet," Bridge quipped. "Give me a break."

Earlier in the show Bridge said he thought Te Matatini should get more funding. 

Watch AM's panel with Gower and political commentator Trish Sherson above.