For over 18 months, the creative sectors of New Zealand have been severely impacted by the challenges that Covid-19 have made to their ability to grow their careers overseas, ply their trade on the world market and, in general, celebrate a variety of global cultures through travel. Despite this, some of the best content New Zealand has ever seen has been developed in the past few months showing the fortitude and commitment Kiwi content creators from Film to Stage have managed to achieve.
The number of beautiful theatrical performances I have attended here in New Zealand from our multicultural communities is striking and the ability for our theatres to still be open and running great stories such as Single Asian Female staged by the Auckland Theatre Company warms my heart.
The ability of New Zealand talent to continue to showcase themselves is a testament to the resilience of New Zealand audiences and funding platforms to keep our creative sector alive.
Though most of their avenues for growth and access have been limited the saving grace of a digital world with fibre in our urban centres has allowed much to continue unblemished despite periodic lockdowns and restrictions across New Zealand.
We also need to recognise that New Zealand has been one of the few nations for a significant period of time without significant restrictions on internal movements.
This has meant world-class film and television production has been able to be made in our country. From Oamaru to Kumeu green screens, cameras and grip trolleys have been rolling and allowing not only for stories to be told in a backdrop of New Zealand’s remarkable landscape but also that local tradies, extras, actors and staff alongside a variety of support businesses from catering to coffee carts have been able to keep a positive economic outlook in the face of unparalleled turmoil worldwide.
With vaccines on the horizon (and in some cases under a full-scale rollout overseas), the creative sector is resuming its place in the communities where the entertainment industry is king. This may shape our own sector’s long-term plans but there is now, I think, a permanent understanding from global creative leaders in the resolve of Kiwi ingenuity and this is something to truly celebrate.
When we traverse the world again as the borders revert to a sense of normalcy, we will have a large community of actors, producers, sound technicians and writers rearing to join projects outside of our local bubble away from Miramar and Avalon.
I am comfortable with this because they will share their stories of a confident nation in the South Pacific that will offer a great home and great opportunities for the sector wherever they are from.
Let us celebrate our creatives and go see a show.
Melissa Lee is a Member of Parliament on National List and the Party’s Spokesperson for Broadcasting & Media| Digital Economy and Communications and Ethnic Communities.
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