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Lessons for Lockdown

Image: Shutterstock.
Image: Shutterstock.
Image: Shutterstock.
Everyone’s already experienced their own crash course in lockdown 101. Here’s your refresher with everything a creative needs to know at their fingertips, from links to inspiration.


You know the drill.

We’ve all been here before, so you don’t need someone to tell you how to handle lockdown when you know what works and what doesn’t.

But those websites you had at the ready in 2020 have probably been deleted from your favourites in delight, thinking this was all behind us. 

Consider this a refresher, a resource to find what you need.  We welcome your input too - send any resources you recommend to be added to

Hauora - first and foremost

First off, remember that you’re not in this alone. Reach out to others in your community for support and advice. 

If you’re able to, offer resources, space, time, information, and networks to help other artists and organisations find their way through these trying times. 

Isolation suits some people but can be potentially devastating for others. Whether that’s Lockdown, self-isolation, MIQ or just not being able to socialise or work with colleagues - it’s important to be able to recognise these are stressful times.

This story on how to cope with COVID-19 mental health issues is just as relevant now as it was when first published.

If you need support, here is a list of places to go for it. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand

1737, need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time. 

Changing Minds | For better mental health in New Zealand (in particular the Wellbeing sessions comes highly recommended)

Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or text 4357

MusicHelps - offering a range of support services for those involved in the industry including counselling and emergency assistance.

New Zealand Actors Benevolent Fund - a non-profit charity supporting entertainment professionals in need.

Keeping it professional

Image: Shutterstock.

While looking after yourself and whānau comes first, keeping a tab on your mahi is important. A break is good, but neglecting it completely will just mean more work to do when you get back to it.

If your creativity is your living, here are some sites you may need to be aware of.

Creative New Zealand: Any updates that affect their grants or funding regularly released through their social media and newsletters. The COVID-19 update page on their website is also a good starting point for information.

Work and Income New Zealand: Details on COVID-19 employer support (wage subsidy, leave payment) and how to apply. These packages are available to sole traders and contractors as well as employers.

Inland Revenue New Zealand: Details of the tax relief and income assistance available for NZ businesses. It includes the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher. Applications for this latest alert level increase will open on 24 August.

Ministry of Health: For the most up-to-date guidelines on staying safe and healthy, as well as the latest news about the COVID-19 outbreak.

Time for a change?

Image: Shutterstock.

 There are always two sides to every coin - and this article on the dawn of change is summed up perfectly by Sir Derek Lardelli.

"We are part of that change process, and it’s reverberating, and it’s crashing, it’s jarring, it’s ringing, it’s tingling, and it’s creating the sensation within us as creatives."

So if you’re looking to change your outlook or find new ways of taking your art to the next step, a lockdown is a great time to do it.

  • The Creative Careers Service is a government-funded pilot programme offering support for creatives in Auckland, Waikato, Nelson and Golden Bay - including The Big Idea’s own mentoring programme Toipoto. It’s free and as this article explains, can be a game-changer.

  • If you’re looking for a leg up, Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust has opened up applications for their 2021 Fale-Ship Residencies through until the end of August. It’s supporting the indigenous authorship of Tagata Moana artists and worth a look.

  • The Creatives in Schools programme has extending its applications window to 5 September. It offers professional artists or creative practitioners the chance to work with schools and kura across Aotearoa to deliver their creative project for students. With funding open for up to $17,000 per project - it opens the door to professionals in a diverse range of art forms to get involved. If you want to know more, here’s how it’s worked at Te Wharekura o Mauao and Rosehill College.

If you’re looking to broaden your skill set or find pointers on how to make the most of your artistic opportunities - check out The Big Idea’s Art Smarts section. It includes tips on

Fancy yourself as a writer? The Big Idea is always open to expanding our whānau of contributors. Get in touch with us at to pitch your ideas!

Get inspired

Inspiration comes from many places - so take your time to look for what fits for you.

We recommend our Advice to My 22-Year-old Self collection, with some successful creatives explaining what they wish they knew then that they know now. It’s raw, honest and relatable.

Creative heavyweights like Rawiri Paratene (pictured below), Rena Owen, Sir Roger Hall and Bic Runga are part of the list imparting their words of wisdom.

Explore new mediums. Lockdown #1 saw more people turn to artistic endeavours, crafts and baking-  sites like Of Small Matters offer pointers and motivation to give something new a crack.

Inspiration does need to come from the arts - seek it out from people you admire, books you’ve always been recommended but never got to and following up contacts that have fallen by the wayside over the years.

Support local production

Image from TVNZ's The Panthers.

You’ll find countless articles giving you advice on what to binge-watch - most of it directing your attention overseas.

We suggest keeping it local - support those talented New Zealanders making great material.

Last year’s lockdown, everyone was binging on the Tiger King. This time around, it’s The Panthers that should be on your watch list.

Besides sharing a big cat title, they couldn’t be more different - with The Panthers shaping as an important and timely reflection on the role of the Polynesian Panthers in the socially and racially divided 1970s New Zealand.

It’s getting rave reviews, with the six-part series also the first Aotearoa television show to be accepted into the prestigious Toronto Film Festival.

All six episodes are there under the ‘local’ section on TVNZ On Demand - among a host of shows that deserve your attention.

If you missed the sensational Cousins you can find it on Neon, Youtube, Google Play or iTunes.

Check out the classics on NZ on Screen’s archives as well to find gems you’ve either missed or forgotten about.

For a full list of arts websites, podcasts, radio stations, blogs, reviews and cultural happenings throughout Aotearoa, look no further than the Lowdown Directory.