Aucklanders warmly welcomed Music Canada Executive Vice President, Amy Terrill, as the keynote speaker at their recent launch of the Auckland Music Strategy, Te Rautaki Puoro o Tāmaki Makaurau. Terrill provided an international perspective to the event, commenting on the growth of the Music Cities movement, Toronto’s experience, and providing some considerations for Auckland as it implements its three year strategy.
The event, which took place at The Wintergarden, a venue within the historic Civic Theatre, began with a Māori welcome speech and song, Miki whakatau & waiata, demonstrating the importance of music to the indigenous community,
“For Māori, music is a divine gift passed down by the gods. It is embedded in traditional ceremony and preserves stories of the past. These stories live on today, woven into our culture and city.”
Other performers included Irene and Saia Folau.
Auckland Council, one of the key partners in the initiative, was well represented with several elected councillors and key staff in the room and remarks by Mayor Phil Goff. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, unable to be there in person, expressed her support through a video message. PM Ardern recalled the first time she was “pitched” on the idea of Auckland as a UNESCO City of Music, and congratulated the industry and civic leaders who worked on the effort over the last two years.
The leading proponents of the initiative, Recorded Music NZ and APRA AMCOS, were represented in remarks by Anthony Healey. The strategy cites Music Canada’s groundbreaking report, The Mastering of a Music City, and Healey noted the importance of this research in the steering committee’s efforts.
In her keynote remarks, Terrill congratulated Auckland on joining “the growing number of cities who are deliberately looking at ways to grow their music economy – many, like Auckland, recognizing a strong music community that has already been built organically.”
She pointed to the value of the “network of cities, of music industry professionals, artists and academics – all who are sharing experience and wisdom to support these intentional efforts to grow the local music economy.”
Throughout her remarks, Terrill provided concrete examples of strategies and tactics that have been deployed successfully in other parts of the world, some of which might be helpful for Auckland. However, she was careful to point out that there is no “cookie cutter approach” and that the way the Auckland strategy is “rooted in what makes your city unique – the diversity of voices and sounds – your unique cultural identity, heritage and position in Australasia,” is very important.
“I see that the City of Auckland values the integration of arts and culture in everyday lives and is working to stimulate the participation of Aucklanders in the arts and employment in the creative sector. I understand you aspire to be a city where “talent wants to live.” The development of this strategy and inclusion in the UNESCO Creative Cities network is a great first step,” Terrill said in closing. “Ngā mihi nui,” meaning I wish you well.