Wednesday 21 December 2011

Our Charitable Purposes and Activities

A New Zealand Craft Symposium on 2 May, 2009 at Christchurch Art Gallery found that although New Zealand craft practice was in a moment of ascendancy and demonstrating a developing maturity, greater market promotion, curatorial and audience development was needed to engage the public of New Zealand. There was a call for a more formal craft network to be established across New Zealand (reducing geographical segmentation) and that a Crafts Council or a national organisation focused on supporting both makers and their audiences (the public of New Zealand) be formed to foster a range of initiatives, in order to ensure the advancement of New Zealand craft practice and engagement of the wider public. The symposium also confirmed that craft was important to our national identity, history and the national economy (particularly tourism).

  • a closer association between  the North and South Islands through curated, touring exhibitions and publications
  • a website that showcases and profiles New Zealand craft to not only the public here but also the rest of the world
  • a public art gallery for craft should be opened in the South Island housing permanent collections and showing international and national exhibitions of craft, as well as selling local works
  • annual craft exhibitions and accompanying symposiums, as well as touring shows, both national and international should be more actively curated and administered
  • touring exhibitions that will expose and educate audiences to current craft practice
  • touring exhibitions of New Zealand craft should focus on the specialist nature of such practice and encourage curated exhibitions of furniture, jewellery, ceramics, etc rather than encompass all aesthetics
  • an opportunity should be developed for New Zealand craft artists to participate in an international event similar to the Venice Biennale
  • the business sector should be encouraged to work in conjunction with craftspeople, to have events and selling opportunities that benefit both the craft and business sector and wider public
  • a concise guide to craft studios and galleries in the South Island could be published 

Later in 2009, Jenna-Lea Philpott (recently returned to New Zealand after working in the UK craft sector) and Dr. Warren Feeney first started to discuss the idea of setting up a national craft organisation. At the start of 2011, and together with Penny Eames, they began to draft a trust deed for Craft Aotearoa.

The advancement of arts and culture is not considered to be a charitable objective in New Zealand and some existing arts organisations have struggled to remain registered with the Charities Commission. Craft Aotearoa was informed that:

'The law surrounding charitable purposes is 400 years old. In order for a purpose to be   charitable, it must fall within one of the four charitable purposes set out in section 5 (1) of the Charities Act, provide a public benefit, and not be aimed at creating private financial profit. The four purposes are: relief of poverty, advancement of education, advancement of religion, or another matter beneficial to the community. There must be an identifiable public benefit and the benefit must be available to the general public, or to a wide section of the general public.' 

After much consideration, five revisions, advice from the Charities Commission, national and international research and further advice from Chapman Tripp (who generously offered to sponsor Craft Aotearoa as part of their pro bono programme) the board of Craft Aotearoa decided to establish a Charitable Trust and proposed the following purposes:

(a) To advance and encourage the exercise/practice of craftsmanship and the continued creation of craft work of a high standard in New Zealand;
(b) To preserve and improve craftsmanship in New Zealand;
(c) To foster, promote and increase the understanding, knowledge and interest of the New Zealand public about craft and craftsmanship ;
(d) To advance the education and development of children and young people in schools and tertiary institutes in craft and craftsmanship;
(e) To advance education and learning opportunities for the New Zealand public in craft and craftsmanship;
(f) To undertake research into the craft sector and its profile in New Zealand and make the results available to inform business planning, education programs and employment services;
(g) To encourage employment into the craft sector including through facilitating careers advice to potential candidates and facilitating apprenticeships;
(h) For any other purposes within New Zealand (whether relating to the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion or any other matter beneficial to the community) which are charitable according to the laws of New Zealand.

In order to achieve the charitable purposes, it is proposed that the Trust undertakes the following activities:

(a) To facilitate craft artist residences, scholarships and awards and other learning opportunities relating to craft and craftmanship in schools and tertiary institutes;
(b) To facilitate craft master-classes, workshops, lectures and seminars;
(c) To develop a craft research library and collection of craft resources and craft objects open to the public;
(d) To develop craft exhibition and touring opportunities throughout New Zealand and internationally;
(e) To develop a regular program of craft events in New Zealand;
(f) To encourage community craft projects; and
(g) To develop a national network and contact point of reference for craftmakers and those interested in craft.

The application to establish Craft Aotearoa Charitable Trust was submitted this week. We look forward to being registered in due course, building partnerships and developing projects that deliver our charitable objectives in 2012. We welcome your suggestions and ideas for projects and partnerships - and will collate these and share with you in a future blog update. We will keep you posted on our progress!

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