The arts are powerful forms of expression that recognise, value, and contribute to the unique bicultural and multicultural character of Aotearoa New Zealand, enriching the lives of all New Zealanders. The arts have their own distinct languages that use both verbal and non-verbal conventions, mediated by selected processes and technologies. Through movement, sound, and image, the arts transforms creative ideas into expressive works that communicate layered meanings.

Visual Arts

The visual arts comprise a broad range of conceptual, material, and dimensional forms through which we communicate, learn about ourselves, and make meaning of the world. They involve people in making objects and images through which ideas, experiences, and feelings are made tangible. The visual arts link social, cultural, and spiritual action and belief and inform our relationships with other people and our environment.

Much of our experience of the world is visual. Visual experiences promote a variety of ways of describing and responding to the world and involve people in investigating, making, and interpreting art. People use the visual arts for particular aesthetic, spiritual, and practical purposes – for example, to construct and decorate their environments and to comment on their beliefs and values.

The visual arts stimulate our thinking and feeling. They are characterised by established conventions and methods of inquiry that are founded on the traditions of the past. They can also reflect the innovations of contemporary times by communicating information, promoting inquiry, expressing ideas, and presenting us with challenges to evolve new art forms and technologies.

Painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, photography, film and video, computer-generated art, performance art, and combinations of these forms are some of the visual arts that reflect the traditions and modern-day expressions of cultures and societies. Their forms and processes enable us to tell stories about ourselves, to express our personal and collective identities, and to participate in the local and global community. 

Painting Folios

Photography Folios


Music is a unique way of organising and making sense of sound. It is a way of knowing that influences how we see the world, express our views of the world, and come to know the world.

In music, emotion, intellect, and imagination are articulated through sound. Music allows us to express our feelings and ideas about ourselves and our place in the world. It can directly evoke emotional responses and capture the elusive essence of who and what we are.

Music encompasses a wide range of sounds, from natural and found sounds through to those generated by conventional musical instruments and electronic technologies. We organise these sounds by manipulating pitch, rhythm, dynamics, harmony, timbre, texture, and form to develop musical ideas and create musical works.

Music is a fundamental form of both personal and cultural expression. As social and historical texts, musical works use a range of traditional and alternative signs and symbols, both heard and seen. Through music, we can appreciate and understand our diverse New Zealand heritage as well as that of other cultures. 

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