Mapping Delight – Towards a Creative Identity in Aotearoa was published by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) earlier in 2018.
The purpose of the research, commissioned by Auckland Council, is to help articulate a New Zealand creative language (and within that context, the vernacular creative identity of Auckland) by collecting and analysing the diverse voices of a range of experienced practitioners across the creative and cultural sectors.
The need for this research originated while planning for the City Rail Link (CRL), when a question was asked: What might the public art experience look like in these stations? What story would it tell – not only to the millions of international visitors experiencing Auckland for the first time, but to the people who make up this city, and walk its streets every day.
The CRL is an opportunity – and from a budgetary perspective, also a major challenge – to embody and celebrate Tāmaki Makaurau’s unique creative and cultural identity. It’s an opportunity to tell the story of this city – to capture a moment in its history, for many generations to come.
The question that remained from there was what that identity actually is. It’s still not uncommon to hear people talk about how New Zealand “has no culture” which – when you actually start to look at the work our artists are making – seems to have no foundation whatsoever. So as part of this opportunity afforded by the CRL, a smaller project was run with the aim of articulating what this emerging creative identity actually is.
This research project involved twenty one-on-one consultations with a range of artists, architects, musicians, critics, and curators and involved asking them about their creative practice, what they saw was New Zealand’s creative identity, and the elements they felt made work born in Tāmaki unique.
Mapping Delight – Towards a Creative Identity in Aotearoa, is unique in New Zealand and an important snapshot in time. In the first instance, it is being used to help inform the creation of a singular New Zealand creative experience across the CRL system.
Beyond its function as a transport system, the CRL project’s potential is to be the largest public art project in New Zealand.
Integrated public art will build a unique creative experience for the users of the system, people of Auckland and visitors to the city. It will ensure the experience could only be from here, by here, for here.