Arts Trail earns EDNZ recognition

Coastal Arts Trail given commendation for Best Practice Collaboration at EDNZ Awards.

The Coastal Arts Trail, a tourism experience jointly created by Venture Taranaki, Whanganui & Partners, and Central Economic Development Agency, was recognised with a commendation for Best Practice Collaboration at the Economic Development NZ Awards on October 13.

The winners of the Economic Development NZ (EDNZ) 2022 Awards were announced at a ceremony in Christchurch, at this year’s EDNZ Conference.

Whanganui & Partners submitted the Coastal Arts Trail application on behalf of the three partners. The winner of the Best Practice Collaboration category was Te Pūwaha, Whanganui’s port development project. Whanganui & Partners also led Te Pūwaha’s application, on behalf of the projects’ major partners.

The criteria taken into account for the Best Practice Collaboration category included achieved outcomes, innovativeness, robustness, and replicability.

The Coastal Arts Trail is an easy, self-drive, art-lovers’ tour across the lower West Coast of the North Island. It is New Zealand’s newest, and largest regional arts tourism experience – featuring over 50 stops throughout the three regions.

Paul Chaplow, Whanganui & Partners’ Visitor Industries Strategic Lead, said the Trail was a large project requiring negotiation, communication and consensus at each stage of its development.

“Without the willing partnership and collaboration of the three regions, we could never have achieved the level of reach and the promotional impact that we have. It’s been brilliant to see the bringing together and curation of such an extensive and impressive arts offering.”

The Coastal Arts Trail concept was developed in 2018. It began with discussions between Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA), Whanganui & Partners, and Venture Taranaki.

CEDA’s Destination Development Project Manager Janet Reynolds said, “Each region is rich in artistic heritage and exceptional galleries. The vision was to connect the regions’ creative strengths to create a unique trail that would capture the imaginations of national and international art lovers and inspire visitors.”

Along with the cohesive trail of galleries and art experiences, the three economic development agencies decided to create an iconic asset, a unique “vehicle” for storytelling. The resulting collaboration was “Vallery” – the world’s first art gallery campervan.

Chaplow said the project created a robust and replicable example for collaboration. “We believe that we have set the foundations for the longevity of the Coastal Arts Trail,” he said.

“This is the first arts trail in Aotearoa to span more than one region and is the longest arts trail in the Southern Hemisphere. Working on a project that has benefit across boundaries leads to significantly greater outcomes than working alone – after all, visitors don’t see regional boundaries.”

Venture Taranaki’s Brylee Flutey, General Manager Destination, said if economic development agencies aspired to development concepts and projects such as food trails, history, heritage and cultural trails, and art trails that cross boundaries, then the Coast Arts Trail was an excellent example to look to.

“The Coastal Arts Trail shows that these developments can work with the sum being greater than its parts. The key is being able to have a project that essentially has equal benefit to each region, a clear vision, an agreed MOU, committed budget and a cross-regional team willing to work together for the benefit of all.”

Chaplow said the Trail’s success reflected the strength of the partnership between the agencies. “It is through truly creative collaboration and partnership that the Coastal Arts Trail has become an asset the three regions can benefit from.”

You can find out more about the Coastal Arts Trail on its website.


Best Practice Collaboration criteria details in full:

1. Achieved outcomes

The best practice shows that it has efficiently and effectively responded to the identified issue or challenge. There is evidence of its impact, achieved outcomes and quality of implementation e.g. targets vs actual performance, key performance indicators, before-and-after comparisons, cost-effectiveness metrics and other relevant statistics.

2. Innovativeness

The best practice demonstrates forward-looking approaches or solutions that are original, pioneering and ground-breaking for the organization, the country or the region as a whole. Innovation covers a wide spectrum of initiatives that ranges from continuous improvements and incremental changes, on one hand, and sweeping, far-reaching and cutting-edge transformations, on the other. This is particularly the case in relation to the Innovation Best Practice Award.

3. Robustness

The best practice has a track record to show that its effectiveness is not short-lived nor transitory. Its benefits and added value are well-established and are expected to last. The best practice can be depended upon to deliver predictable results time and again.

4. Replicability

The best practice shares insights on the factors that would be indispensable to its replicability as well as the risks that could stand in the way of its successful implementation. It has the potential to inspire other economic development agencies that are faced with a similar issue or challenge.


About the Coastal Arts Trail

The Coastal Arts Trail brings together three regions that share a depth of artistic and cultural assets. A partnership between the Central Economic Development Agency (Manawatū), Whanganui & Partners, and Venture Taranaki, the project recognises the importance of kotahitanga, working together towards common goals. The creative industries are a shared strategic focus for all three regions, and this is their most significant collaboration to date.

In the planning for over 5 years, the vision for the Trail was realised with the help of government funding for the recovery of tourism communities impacted by COVID-19*.

The Coastal Arts Trail aims to attract a wide range of people interested in new arts and culture experiences with an extensive collection of public art, street art, galleries, museums, open studios, workshops and events.

The ambitious gallery camper concept is a unique partnership between three public and one private tourism organisation; the Central Economic Development Agency (Manawatū), Whanganui & Partners, Venture Taranaki and Quirky Campers NZ.


Coastal Arts Trail website


*The Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery, and Re-Set Plan 2021/22, is a $200 million tourism support package and an extension of the Government’s 2020 Strategic Tourism Asset Protection Programme (STAPP), created to aid the recovery of tourism communities in the wake of COVID-19.

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