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About Te Ora Auaha

We are a national network for the arts, health and wellbeing. We aim to connect people working across this diverse and innovative field to grow a thriving community of practice.


Te Ora Auaha's mission is to contribute to a healthier, more flourishing New Zealand through the arts.

Who we are

Te Ora Auaha has been set up by an alliance of artists, researchers, policymakers and arts, education, health and community organisations who have been meeting informally since 2015. In 2017 and 2018, we hosted some cross-sector hui bringing together 45 representatives from 36 national bodies, networks and organisations in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Dunedin. Our vision and plans emerged from these events. It is also informed by other research we’ve carried out.

For more information, download our About Us handout


Te Ora Auaha provides a national focus for advocacy and research, and connecting and strengthening this diverse, dynamic and interdisciplinary field. The digital hub creates a shared platform to connect people working in isolation across the country, and a space to grow and share research, resources, partnerships and opportunities. The alliance creates a structure through which we can come together to increase impact, visibility, recognition and investment in our individual and collective work. We will focus on:

  • Strategic leadership and advocacy

  • Researching and sharing best practice and evidence

  • Building the Aotearoa research/evidence base

  • Connecting and uniting a fragmented cross-disciplinary field

  • Strengthening practice and supporting innovation, collaboration and learning

  • Advocating for policy and practice rooted in principles of equity, social justice and wellbeing for all.

Why is Te Ora Auaha needed?

The arts have a significant contribution to make to our health and wellbeing. They enrich our everyday lives, connect our communities, help us to describe and make sense of our world, and are a valuable resource in health and social care contexts. Substantial international research and evidence confirms this. See our resources section for some of this research.

In New Zealand, we have excellent work happening across the country but we have not benefited from the same levels of research, recognition and investment as in countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia. Our March 2017 hui Arts for Wellbeing: A Call to Action explored challenges and aspirations for people working in very different arts/ wellbeing environments.

The hui told us that:

  • The arts for health and wellbeing across the country are alive and kicking, but limited by inadequate resources, visibility, policy recognition and unsustainable funding models

  • Rhe sector is especially fragmented

  • The funding and policy environment encourages competitive and siloed work and discourages growth and innovation

  • Greater understanding of what the arts can do for wellbeing (and how) is urgently needed

  • Many people want to work together to remedy all these things.

What now?

We are still emergent, and seeking resources to take this work forward. We invite people who share our kaupapa  to get in touch, join our movement and spread the word.

Sign up now

Thank you  to everyone for their contributions 

The Te Ora Auaha working group (2017-19):

Dr Lucy D’Aeth - Public Health Specialist, Canterbury District Health Board

Taimi Allen - CEO, Changing Minds

Richard Benge - CEO, Arts Access Aotearoa

Moira Cluney - Research and Information Manager, Mental Health Foundation

Kathryn Hall - Otago University/ Practising GP, Dunedin

Amanda Levey - Programme Director, Arts Therapy Whitecliffe College of Art and Design, Secretary ANZACATA (Australia, New Zealand, Asia Creative Arts Therapies Association)

Briar Monro - Arts Practice Director, Community and Youth, Creative New Zealand

Kim Morton - Manager, Otautahi Creative Spaces, Christchurch

Dr Molly Mullen - Lecturer and researcher, University of Auckland

Asha Munn - Art psychotherapist, Waitemata District Health Board

Prof. Peter O’Connor - Director, Creative Thinking Project, University of Auckland

Tiffany Singh - Socially engaged artist

Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho - Creative practitioner, performer, health promoter

Amber Walls - Researcher, Creative Collaborative, Auckland Council

2018 consultation and co-design hui participants

University of Auckland (Faculty of Education and Social Work; Faculty of Health; Faculty of Arts; Centre for Community Research and Evaluation); Waikato University; Otago University; Arts Access Aotearoa; Whitecliffe College of Art and Design; Creative New Zealand; ANZACATA (Australia, New Zealand and Asia Arts Therapies Association; Ara Taiohi (National Youth Work Network); Museums Aotearoa; Mental Health Foundation; The Big Idea; Auckland Council; Artists Alliance; Waitemata DHB; Canterbury DHB Creative Spaces Networks; CAN (Creative Access Network); Arts in Corrections Network; Applied Theatre Network; Auckland Council; Multiple organisations delivering arts and health programmes; Otautahi Creative Spaces; Corbans Estate Arts Centre; Creative Collaborative; Art Māpura Studios; Circability Trust; Susan Jordan PLC; Toi Ora Trust; Changing Minds; Interacting Theatre; Arts Therapy in Schools ; Taurima Vibes; Numerous individual artists and art therapists.























ARTS, HEALTH AND WELLBEING: Call to action hui, March 2017

ARTS, HEALTH AND WELLBEING: Maree Mills, Curator at Waikato Museums, at the call to action hui, March 2017

ARTS, HEALTH AND WELLBEING: Kim Morton, Manager of Ōtautahi Creative Spaces, at the call to action hui, March 2017

ARTS, HEALTH AND WELLBEING: brainstorming ideas at the call to action hui, March 2017


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