Auckland becomes UNESCO Creative City of Music

auckland city of music photo splore festival serena stevensonAuckland has become a City of Music, joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Auckland’s successful bid, along with 11 other music cities worldwide, was announced by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on 31 October.

“The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

“We warmly congratulate Auckland Council on its successful bid.”

Councillor Alf Filipaina, a staunch supporter of the bid made by Auckland Council working with Recorded Music NZ and APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association), is thrilled to share Auckland’s distinctive sound with the world and strengthen music opportunities in the city.

"From indie folk and brass bands to waiata aroha, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Lorde, there’s no doubt music is a part of us. It goes right to Auckland’s roots, with waiata woven into our history and everyday culture," he says.

"Supporting Auckland as a creative city and growing our music industry will enrich city life, the cultural landscape and build community identity and liveability for all Aucklanders.

In 2016, Auckland Council adopted Toi Whῑtiki, an arts and culture strategic action plan designed to promote economic growth in the industry. The city is already home to around half of New Zealand’s creative sector, with more than 18,000 Aucklanders working in the field.

Recorded Music NZ, instrumental in driving the application, brought together key music industry stakeholders including APRA, NZ Music Commission and NZ On Air.

Mark Roach at Recorded Music NZ says he’s excited about the potential the new status will have for Auckland’s future. "Music is a transformative power, not only as a cultural staple but also as an economic driver for the city. We are thrilled to receive this good news; the designation will support the development of a creative eco-system, strengthen the social fabric and position of Auckland as the music capital of the Pacific."

Research reveals seven in 10 Aucklanders have attended a music event in the last three years, making the most of a plethora of concerts and festivals held in the city.

Songwriter Moana Maniapoto, Pacific musician Opetaia Foa’i and Gin Wigmore, are among the many who have propelled Auckland music onto the world stage.

Ant Healey at APRA says, "Auckland is fortunate to enjoy one of the most diverse and unique music scenes in the world. We look forward to bringing together all aspects of the music community, leveraging their special skill sets and collective experience to showcase our musical strength internationally. We want Auckland to be a place where music can thrive for the benefit of everyone who lives here."

The global network will open up opportunities for collaborations between the music industry and other member cities, opening the door for international cooperation and knowledge exchange.

Photo credit: Serena Stevenson