Statement from the SGCNZ Board                                                                             

We apologise for failing to respond immediately and robustly to express our dismay and outrage at the racist vitriol related to our recent funding issue. We condemn racism, in all its forms, in the strongest possible terms.

By our delay, we contributed to and exacerbated a feeling that SGCNZ supported views which were critical of Kahikatea grant recipients on the grounds of race.  As a Board, we have been alerted to the need to be more responsive thanks to articles by commentators, as well as direct feedback from our own supporters and the broader arts community.

Through listening to the painful experiences of others, and drawing on our own experiences, we understand that many feel SGCNZ focused excessively on getting funding for our organisation, irrespective of the cost to others.

We have reflected extensively on our part in contributing to this conflict.

In particular, we regret that the ensuing SGCNZ media interactions left very little space for four successful organisations to celebrate their well-deserved achievement of obtaining funding to continue the brilliant and important creative mahi that they do.

We apologise here, publicly, that our drama eclipsed their success. We firmly believe that our sector is all the richer for their ongoing contribution and mana.  We should have voiced our tautoko and care towards them earlier. That was our mistake and flawed process, and for all the continued mamae this has caused, we are truly sorry.  We are striving to continue to learn, to listen, and to grow.

Paul Foster-Bell (Ngti Kahu ki Whangaroa / Te Aupuri)

Chair, on behalf of the SGCNZ Trust Board