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Dunedin City Council – Kaunihera-a-rohe o Otepoti
Green pattern.

Strategic Theme 4: Creative Economy

Arts and culture is a key economic driver. Internationally, the creative economy is growing faster than many other sectors, often at several times the average rate of growth of the economy overall. The sector has seen continuing growth, despite the recent financial global crisis. At the national level, the sector is increasingly being recognised for stimulating increased productivity and innovation in other sectors of the economy. Dunedin, with its rich creative tradition and the dynamic energy of its youth culture, is well-placed to capitalise on the growth of the creative sector.

Growth Driver -

Leverage arts and culture as a key driver of local and regional economic development

Arts and culture is not an optional extra but is a critical part of economic development as creativity underpins the very foundations of Dunedin’s prosperity. Creative innovation is a feature of Dunedin, which enjoys an array of ground-breaking entrepreneurs and businesses providing platforms for invention in a wide range of creative industries. This is key to taking advantage of the knowledge economy and being prepared for the future. It offers opportunities for greater employment growth, especially among youth, and attracting and retaining a talented workforce. The way is open for Dunedin to assert its place as the South’s greatest centre of creativity, just as in recent decades it has carved a reputation as the wildlife capital of the country. Infusing economic development with arts and culture offers new ways to reimagine the value and potential of our cultural assets.

Promote and Profile -

Use the city’s creative excellence to build dynamic and productive relationships nationally and around the world

Arts and culture offer ways to build new and exciting relationships with other places and their cultural institutions, industries and people. This both reinforces Dunedin’s profile in the world and brings wide-ranging benefits to the city. We have a legacy of powerful arts and cultural activity. These creative achievements should be at the centre of Dunedin’s identity and branding, bolstering newer relationships, such as those with China, and invigorating older ones, for example with Edinburgh. Building value begins with valuing things locally, profiling and celebrating our creative output on our streets, in our venues, publications, and in our own businesses, and putting this celebration at the heart of every message we send to the rest of the world. Nothing spreads faster than news of a good time being had.


“ Dunedin’s music continues to have an international reputation today; different scenes building new stories on the past.”

Ian Henderson, Music Manager, Fishrider Records

Talent Incubator -

Be a city where creative people train, work, set up businesses and have fantastic careers

The success of creatives is not solely the result of their creative talent. Not only must we bring in fresh talent, but also provide a stimulating, vibrant and tolerant environment that is technologically advanced and offers a range of challenging and satisfying work opportunities. Simply put, a creative city needs to provide the conditions where talented people want to live, work and play. The city must invest in the necessary infrastructure, offering tailored business support to bring creativity together with strong business skills. Dunedin has the ability to offer inexpensive and interesting sites to creative businesses, from spaces for start-ups to film locations. It’s easy to be based here and work with the rest of the world, an invaluable asset adding to the city’s international muscle. The University, the Polytechnic and the Council support young people with their entrepreneurial ideas – with programmes like the advertising specialist course ‘Brandbach’ – but not all artists undertake further education and some ground-breakers, like Fred Brandenberg, find their innovation mojo later in life, and need specific types of support.

World Class Player -

Ensure the best arts and culture from around the world is available on our doorstep

Dunedin boasts world-class arts and culture, with our creative sector leveraging relationships to bring the world’s conversations to the people of Dunedin. The key cultural institutions, the University and the Polytechnic, and many other organisations, businesses and individuals in the city, are working in an international environment and as part of this draw exceptional creatives to Dunedin to interact with residents. This dramatically increases the city’s opportunities for important international cultural exchange. The strategy seeks to support the organisations bringing international work and people to Dunedin, and to properly value such collaborations. We must do more of this to make the city both interesting and prosperous.


“ Dunedin will never creatively grow while work keeps getting given to an unmediated core group of creatives. Not only is opening work up to pitching and application fair, it also encourages competition which is healthy for pushing the arts forward. Quality grows from competition.”

Colleen Pugh, Dear Colleen


“ I love it when we get visitors who have never been here before and are so surprised about how great it is, and genuinely express those feelings back in their own cities. It makes me proud to have made the decision to stay here early in the establishment of our brand.”

Margarita Robertson, Creative Director, NOM*d and PLUME


FashioniD Dunedin Fashion Week 2015;International Emerging Designer: Kelsi Bennett

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