Careers advice

7 examples of common arts jobs in Aotearoa New Zealand

“Arts jobs are hard to find” – yeah, nah.

Last updated: 2 April 2024

We’re lucky to live in a country with a thriving arts scene. From major centres such as Auckland and Wellington, which attract major exhibitions, theatre productions and musicians from around the world, to regional hubs like Raglan, Hawke’s Bay and the Coromandel Peninsula, we certainly punch above our weight when it comes to the arts.

If you have an interest in working arts jobs, we reckon you’ll have heard on more than a couple of occasions that “jobs in the arts are hard to come by”. And sure, there are fewer roles in this sector than, say, banking or customer service. But, those outside of the arts sector often don’t understand the breadth of opportunities available. So, to demonstrate the full gamut of arts jobs out there, here’s a summary of some of the most common ones out there.

7 easy-to-find arts jobs in NZ

1. Events coordinators

In this role, your task would be to curate and organise cultural events that showcase the rich tapestry of Aotearoa’s arts and heritage, or display works from international creatives visiting our shores. Whether it's organising art exhibitions, cultural festivals, or performances, your role as an events coordinator would involve bringing people together to celebrate and appreciate the diverse artistic expressions within the community. This position requires strong organisational skills, a keen eye for detail, and a genuine appreciation for the arts. You’ll also need to deal well with pressure and deadlines, and be able to interact with various stakeholders both inside and outside the arts world.

Similarly, New Zealand's film industry offers exciting opportunities, and becoming a Film Festival Programmer allows you to be at the forefront of showcasing cinematic triumphs. In this role, you would be responsible for selecting films, organising screenings, and creating a platform for filmmakers to present their work. As a Film Festival Programmer, your role contributes to the cultural vibrancy of the nation by bringing diverse cinematic experiences to audiences and supporting the local film industry.

Want to spread your love of art to the next generation?

2. Theatre production manager

Perhaps the stage is more your thing, in which case, pursuing a career as a theatre production manager could be an exciting choice. In this role, your responsibilities would include overseeing the logistical and technical aspects of theatrical productions. From coordinating rehearsals to managing budgets and ensuring smooth operations during performances, being a Theatre Production Manager requires a combination of organisational prowess and a passion for the performing arts. Your efforts would contribute to the seamless execution of captivating productions that entertain and inspire audiences.

While you’ll likely start out on a small scale with local productions, successful theatre production managers enjoy exciting and diverse opportunities, with the potential for international travel and the ability to work on a variety of productions.

3. Art therapy

One prominent avenue within arts jobs is that of an art therapist. In Aotearoa New Zealand, art therapists play a crucial role in using artistic expression as a means of communication and healing. You'd be working with individuals, groups, or communities, utilising the therapeutic power of art to address emotional, mental, and psychological well-being. This profession requires a deep understanding of both artistic techniques and therapeutic principles, enabling you to make a positive impact on the lives of those you work with.

4. Art education

For those who are passionate about arts education, becoming an Arts Educator offers a fulfilling career path. As an arts educator, you’d be responsible for nurturing the creative talents of students, fostering a love of the arts, and providing them with the skills to express themselves artistically. This role extends beyond traditional classroom settings. It might involve collaborating with community organisations, conducting workshops, and advocating for arts education to shape well-rounded individuals.

On top of your artistic ability, one of the joys of working as an arts educator is the chance to pass on the theoretical, historical and conceptual sides to art, and to watch your students blossom in terms of their understanding and capabilities.

Working in art galleries is a great way to get into the arts sector.

5. Art galleries and museums

Art galleries and museums offer yet another avenue for those interested in arts response jobs. Working as a gallery or museum curator, you’re entrusted with selecting, interpreting, and presenting artworks or artefacts to the public. This role involves a deep understanding of art history, a discerning eye for curation, and the ability to create compelling narratives around the displayed pieces. As a curator, you contribute to shaping the cultural narrative and fostering a connection between the audience and the exhibited artworks

Similarly, art conservation is a specialised field that plays a crucial role in preserving Aotearoa New Zealand's cultural heritage. If you have a deep appreciation for art and history, becoming an Art Conservator involves the meticulous restoration and preservation of artworks. This role requires expertise in conservation techniques, a profound understanding of artistic materials, and a commitment to safeguarding the integrity of cultural artefacts for future generations.

6. Arts journalism

For those with a knack for communication, a career in Arts Journalism might be the ideal fit. As an arts journalist, you would be responsible for covering and critiquing various forms of artistic expression, from visual arts to performing arts. Your insights and analyses would be shared through articles, reviews, or multimedia platforms, contributing to the discourse surrounding the arts in Aotearoa New Zealand. This role demands a keen understanding of the arts, excellent writing skills, and the ability to communicate the significance of artistic endeavours to a wider audience.

Do you have the eye and comms knack to be an art journalist?

7. Graphic designers

A very practical, and potentially lucrative, usage of your creative abilities could be as a graphic designer. One of the most rewarding aspects of this occupation is the ability to bring ideas to life visually, turning concepts into captivating designs that resonate with your audience. This creative outlet not only fosters personal satisfaction but also allows you to make a tangible impact on the visual landscape.

The dynamic nature of the field ensures that each day presents new challenges, keeping your work consistently engaging and stimulating. Through honing your design skills, you acquire a versatile set of tools that extend beyond graphics – problem-solving, critical thinking, and effective communication become second nature. This proficiency opens doors to diverse career opportunities, from branding and marketing to web design and illustration.

The demand for skilled graphic designers remains robust across industries, providing job security and the flexibility to work as a freelancer or within a creative agency. Additionally, the continuous evolution of design software and techniques ensures that you stay on the cutting edge, fostering professional growth and a perpetual learning curve.

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Al Hall
Al Hall

Al Hall is a regular contributor at Trade Me Jobs and Trade Me Property. He’s dedicated to helping people succeed in their aspirations to find their dream job and place to live.