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Auckland outlines UNESCO City Of Music vision

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Bolstering Auckland music ecosystem – including grassroots venues – are among the key goals identified in the vision for Auckland’s newly-minted status as a UNESCO City off Music.

The council today (November 13) unveiled its first strategy document for the United Nations cultural programme, which recognized creativity as a major factor in the urban development of cities around the globe.

The report blueprint was devised by the Auckland City Of Music (ACOMO) Steering Group, which is made up of representatives of music industry organisations such as Recorded Music  NZ and APRA AMCOS, and council units such as Auckland Live and ATEED.

As well as promoting the vital role of grassroots venues, the council will look to help develop sustainable creative communities, a skilled workforce and sustainable creative communities. Other key objective include collaborating with other UNESCO Creative Community Cities, supporting related networks in the Pacific and championing Maori music on the world stage.

The launch was hosted by Auckland Mayor Phil Goff (pictured), who said the city’s UNESCO designation was recognition of the richness of the music culture of Auckland.

“It’s something that really backs up Auckland Council’s vision of Auckland as being a world class city and a place where talent wants to live,” he said. “It reflects the incredible talent of the musicians that this city has produced [and] reflects our identity as the largest Maori and Polynesian [cities] in the world.

“It also takes into account we are a richly diverse city ethnically and the talents that some of those ethnic communities have brought to us. Designation as a city of music is not just an indication of what we have achieved, but more importantly it is about the opportunities that this opens up for our city to build on and strengthen.”

Ant Healey, APRA AMCOS’s head of NZ operations, also welcomed the initiative and said the steering group now wanted to hear specific proposals from the music industry about how ACOM could achieve its goals.

“This is simply the beginning,” he said. “We hope the genesis of this concept has created a foundation upon which we can build many great ideas.”

Among Healey’s personal goals for the project were the creation of dedicated entertainment precincts, the celebration of Maori music “widely and every day” and ensuring that music was considered in every decision made by Auckland Council.

“Let’s make this a place where our kids are surrounded by music every day and have the chance to learn and perform,” he added. “Where musicians can learn their craft and launch their careers, and a place where music from all around the Pacific can springboard out to the rest of the world.”

The launch also featured a video message of support from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and a speech from Music Canada executive vice president Amy Terrill, who is also co-author of the acclaimed study ‘Mastering A Music City’.

She shared examples of some of the success stories in Canada, which include the creation of music hubs, the development of more music-friendly council regulations and the use of libraries for rehearsal and performance spaces.

The event was compered by DJ Karen Hay and also featured performances from Stand Up Stand Out winner Irene Folau – accompanied by brother Saia Folau –  and synth-pop duo LEXXA.

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