Vol - 31 | 3 December 2020


Kia ora koutou
I hope this finds you well as this extraordinary year draws to a close. I hope and trust that, with the impending release of a number of Covid-19 vaccines, next year will be a much more normal one – though I suspect that anyone wanting to extend their horizons offshore may be disappointed!
Our apologies that, for a number of reasons, this newsletter is late to reach you – but it comes as always with our warm regards, and our huge respect for all you do for students in the arts in Aotearoa New Zealand. We wish them and you a very rewarding and relaxing break over January!
Ngā mihi nui
Simon Chiaroni
On behalf of the Arts Online team
Sally Waanders – Art History
Bridget Blair – Visual Arts
Patrice O’ Brien – Dance
Ryan Timoko-Benjamin – Drama
Martin Emo - Music/Sound Arts
Jane Ferguson & Simon Chiaroni – Administrators, Cognition Education


Arts advocacy involves sharing your views and opinions with officials who make decisions impacting your arts community or organisation. The code of professional responsibility in Aotearoa requires that ‘teachers demonstrate a commitment to providing high-quality and effective teaching’ and ‘promote and justice’ for their learners.
How do you show your commitment to The Arts? Are you aware of recent developments in your profession that have implications for your students - are you going to advocate for them?
Equitable access to quality arts experiences is recognised as a matter of social justice. Research indicates that it enhances the attendance, retention and success of students in schools. Inequities for ākonga increase when experiences in the arts are reduced or eliminated. This was the case when national standards were being introduced in the primary sector in recent years, when many diverse experiences for students were culled to ensure students met standardised targets.
Inequities for ākonga also increase when access to Professional Learning Development opportunities in the arts are virtually non-existent for their teachers. The tagging of funding to priorities (national and school) that don’t explicitly provide for the Arts alongside limited accessibility to specialist approved facilitators has effectively marginalised Arts educators within the PLD sphere. Compounding this are current teacher training programmes that have vastly reduced or don’t cater for the specialist knowledge required to successfully teach in a range of Primary and Secondary School arts contexts. A recent NMSSA report and survey of primary teachers indicated that many have had little or no professional development opportunities recently in the Arts – however, even with a little PD their confidence to provide their students with learning experiences increases dramatically.  This excerpt from an opinion piece written by Diana Smallfield a number of years ago is still applicable:

“Professional Learning Development (PLD) opportunities and access to specialist teacher support in the Arts is ever diminishing and therefore problematic. Its demise seems predictable. There is a continuing need in both primary and secondary schools for specialist PLD in the Arts. This is as relevant now as it has been in the past, given that the New Zealand Curriculum defines all learning areas as equal and significant….A foreseeable flow-on effect in our secondary schools of dropping achievement levels will be exacerbated if teachers are not offered equitable access to PLD across the essential learning areas. National online arts resources,  Arts Online, MOE and NZQA resources and student exemplars go some way towards addressing the PLD needs of educators. This is not enough if teachers are expected to rely solely on these sources, judging by the NMSSA findings.” - Diana Smallfield, Arts Facilitator and recipient of recipient of the 2017 Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Art Educators Award for Sustained Leadership, Outstanding Service and Contributions to Research in Aotearoa New Zealand.

At the Secondary end of the spectrum, major decision making has currently begun in relation to ‘significant learning’ and ‘assessment outcomes’ for all Arts ākonga from Years 11-13. Educators are also grappling with some unintended consequences of Boards of Trustees opting into the new school donation scheme, which has affected the available school funding for some specialist Arts subjects. These developments could have the potential to create yet more inequity for learners in low-income contexts where providing materials and equipment may now be more challenging.
In September’s editorial we welcomed recommendations from Perry Rush (President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation), to ‘bring the arts back into classrooms’. The majority of Arts educators in Aotearoa currently enjoy the privilege of a secure place in the national curriculum with nationally funded qualifications, when in many other countries this has been lost. This is thanks to tireless advocacy in the past for status and recognition for the Arts in the education sector.  The Arts’ place in the curriculum should not be taken for granted – the time for activism and advocacy in the Arts is simply … always.
So, I lay down this challenge to you …. how do you show your commitment to The Arts?
While you might ‘fight for your turf’ within your school, being an educator in the arts is a much bigger conversation.
Are you sharing your knowledge to benefit ākonga experiences with The Arts?
Are you keeping up-to-date with new developments and helping to shape the future of the Arts in Aotearoa for all ākonga?
Are you advocating and offering your opinions in response to change?

Kia kaha, kia manawanui

Bridget Blair - National Facilitator for Visual Arts


It’s exciting that some schools, despite the interrupted year that we have had, have managed to get some dance performances ready for audience viewing. Other schools have found ways to weave dance performances into prize givings and final assemblies so that dance in the school can be celebrated.
Black Grace has completed a new resource about the development of the company.  It also includes a detailed resource for NCEA 2.1 based on Ieremia’s choreography for Method.  The original stimulus for this dance was the backyard games of Ieremia’s youth.

The Dance Subject Expert Group for NCEA revision has its first meeting at the end of this month.  It will be interesting to see what the ideas for a newly shaped NCEA will look like.  There will be opportunities for you to share your ideas on Dancenet.

Just a reminder that there is no NZQA moderation required for NCEA this year. This information was included in a NZQA circular back in June, but may have been missed.

Here is a really interesting lecture demonstration by Black Grace for an audience of students in America. It is a really useful resource.

Contemporary Dance uNZipped will be on again next year from 18 - 21 January at TAPAC in Auckland.  A highlight will be the return of Ichiro Harada, who will teach a duet suitable to be assessed for 3.3. There is a great line up of other presenters.  More details will be on Dancenet soon.
RNZB has been touring Sleeping Beauty to many cities in New Zealand. The tour concludes in mid December.

Research/Professional Readings
Dance literacy is an important concept for dance educators. Our curriculum document was underpinned by the idea that the arts are distinct literacies of their own. This article Conceptualizing Dance Literacy suggests that education in dance literacy can contribute to students’ literacy education by accentuating bodily learning in and through dance, while simultaneously highlighting and appreciating the value of dance itself.



It may be timely now to begin forming a group, connecting with a local cluster, or to rally your region via DramaNet discussions to request and organise a Making Assessor Judgements Best Practice Workshop for 2021.

Teaching Drama in Distance Learning  – tips and strategies to help literature and drama teachers adapt theatrical pedagogy for the Zoom stage, from Shana Bestock and Edutopia.

Drama New Zealand’s Auckland branch are hosting the national conference of Drama New Zealand over 16-19 April 2021.

A newly published collection by Pacific playwright, Louise Tu’u, We Fit The Criteria, captures two of her plays: Le Tauvaga/The Competition, which explores the struggle of identity set within a Samoan Competitive Group for Polyfest; and Horses and other Farm Animals, which examines the roles Pasifika women play in life and onstage. The published, hardcopy text is available now and provides an opportunity for increased diversity and inclusion in drama departments, when considering expanding your range of texts for NCEA students to study.

Research/Professional Readings
Replanting creativity during post-normal times, is an October 2020 research report from the Centre for Arts and Social Transformation at the University of Auckland, headed by Prof. Peter O’Connor. See also The Big Idea introduction to the report from 2 November.


The MENZA AGM was held face-to-face prior to the most recent Auckland lockdown. It included two live streamed workshops, one with Kiwileles for ECE/Primary and one with Delysse Glynn, the NZQA National Moderator.

The Review of Achievement standards for Music has been stalled for most of the year, which has been frustrating for teachers wanting more information on when drafts, changes and implementation will happen. Recently there was some discussion on Musicnet of what the 2+2 standards could look like. I hope that the discussion continues, to ensure that there is a wide-range of opinion and thoughts once we get to the sector feedback part of the RAS process.

I communicated that there is no NZQA moderation required for NCEA this year. This was included in a NZQA circular back in June, but slipped through the cracks for many teachers as they were in the midst of online teaching.

The great relationship built over the last few years with our National Assessment Moderator means that any questions from the Arts Online music email list are quickly answered.

Adam Neely shared this video which has been doing the rounds amongst music educators around the world. It’s looking at Music Theory, Eurocentrism and white supremacy in music education.

Earlier this year, Roland celebrated 40 years of the TR-808 Drum Machine. What was a commercial flop on release that ended up in pawn shops was picked up by Hip Hop producers and now permeates many of the songs that feature on your students’ Spotify playlists. Roland have made a great website with videos and history, and included a playlist of tracks that use the 808. You’d be surprised what’s in there that isn’t Hip Hop:  from Phil Collins, Marvin Gaye, The Pointer Sisters, and Michael Jackson to the Pet Shop Boys.

The MENZA events page has been updated on their website. This is a great place to get up to date notification on professional learning development opportunties, concerts and online events.

The MENZA website continues to be updated with a large number of resources. Many are free to access, whilst others are behind the membership paywall.

Research/Professional Readings
Dr Graham McPhail from Auckland University has written an opinion piece on how the NCEA review and the NZ Curriculum still have big problems.


Visual Arts

The current Review of Achievement Standards being undertaken by the Ministry of Education began earlier this year and draft materials for the Visual Arts have been published. Trial schools have been appointed and trials of the materials with ākonga will be underway in 2021. Visual Arts was one of a handful of pilot subjects to begin the process this year, with all other subjects beginning the process next year.
Another round of funding for Creatives in Schools has recently closed and so some exciting projects will no doubt be taking place in schools in 2021. This is a great initiative to bring expertise and experiences into schools and kura that might not otherwise be accessible. A further funding round will be occurring in 2021, so start working on your applications!
This year as noted no verification samples were required at Level 1 and 2 due to Covid, which was a relief for Visual Arts teachers around New Zealand. External examination of Level 3 portfolios continues as usual.
Following on from the Black Lives Matter movement, Arts educators around the globe have been examining their programmes and content through the lens of inclusivity - can learners see themselves reflected in the learning environment? The flipside of this is careful consideration of Indigenous Arts Protocols (Ontario Arts Council).

In a New Zealand take on this a few years ago, Te Papa Tongarewa produced this video of a conversation with Richard Bell, Josh Milani and Ian McLean about Appropriation, Modernism, and Indigenous Art in the Contemporary Field, in honor of Gordon Bennet.
What impact has Covid-19 had on artists - Mark Amery discusses significant art developments in Aotearoa during 2020 on Radio New Zealand. He discusses CHCH Shared lines, the Aotearoa Poster competition, and the nomadic art gallery..
This video by short film maker Syed Mohammad Reza Kheradmand exemplifies the deep cross-cultural connections that can be made across humanity in just a couple of minutes via the arts. It recently won an award at the Luxor African Film Festival.
Who is in charge here? - decoding secret messages in the NZ artwork
Research/professional readings
Wherefore Arts Thou? - the integrated or ignored learning areas
Art History

The NZAHTA Professional Development Day, which was planned for September and postponed due to Auckland’s lockdown, will now be held early next year. Please register for this event by e-mailing (Barbara Ormond, NZAHTA President).

A final reminder about external exam dates (if you haven’t already pencilled them in):
Level 3 - Wednesday 9 December - am
Scholarship - Thursday 3 December - pm

Current Exhibitions
  • Te Papa:
    Modern Living: Design in 1950s Aotearoa – 22nd Aug - 21 May 2021
    A vision for a more equal, happier way of life grew from the devastation of World War II. Good, affordable design was seen as key to society’s transformation, as a growing sense of national identity was emerging in 1940s and 50s New Zealand.
    Colin McCahon at Te Papa - Temporary displays
    Some of McCahon’s most important works are on display in the Toi Galleries to coincide with the centenary of his birth.
  • Christchurch City Gallery:
    Areta Wilkinson: Moa Hunter Fashion – 18 Sept - 8 February
    Like her ancestors before her, Areta utilises local resources for the task at hand – hammerstones from the Waimakariri and Rakahuri Ashley Rivers, local pigments, clays and gold.
    Persistent Encounters - March 2020 - March 2022
    Drawing on works of art from the Dutch ‘Golden Age’ to the modern period, this largely historical selection crackles with lively visual storytelling.
  • Dunedin City Art Gallery:
    Hone tuwhare - HOTERE -  6 October 2020 - 28 February 2021
    Hone Tuwhare and Ralph Hotere were good friends; their independent artistic careers were united by a shared concern for human rights and injustice.
Video -
Michael Parekowhai - Patriot - Ten Guitars series
Michael Parekowhai talks about this collaborative project and its meaning.


Level 2:
Level 3:
Research/professional readings

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