Bic Runga giving back

Bic Runga
Image source: Iain McGregor/Stuff – Bic Runga on stage with Lorde at the April 17 Aroha Nui benefit
Christchurch Arts Centre
Kiwi musician and producer Bic Runga has been announced as the first recipient of a creative residency programme being reinstated after a decade-long break.


Songwriter and musician Bic Runga says she’s honoured to become the first participant in the Creative Residencies programme, which is starting up again at the Arts Centre, Te Matatiki Toi Ora, in Christchurch.

“This residency is a wonderful chance for me to reconnect with my Ōtautahi roots and give back to a community that has been through so much,” she said in a release announcing the programme’s return.

To be based in such a beautiful Aotearoa heritage landmark steeped in so much arts and cultural history and where many great creators have been before me is a real honour. I can’t wait to see the impact it’ll have on my songwriting.”

The Auckland-based artist was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2016. She’ll complete a two-part residency in the newly restored and strengthened Art Centre building that houses the Christchurch cultural centre.

She will be in residence in April and May and will return for a week in July to hold workshops.  

Christchurch Arts Centre

Restoring memories

Before the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, the Arts Centre had a thriving and well-regarded Creative Residencies programme that had been running for more than 10 years with two artist-in-residence apartments.

Residencies in the past included a broad range of local, regional, national and international artists including Michel Tuffery, Raewyn Hill, Mahinarangi Tocker, Lauren Lysart, Zoe Roland, Tim Main, Charlotte Yates and Areta Wilkinson.

The accessible residences are now home to four suites.  Arts Centre chief executive Philip Aldridge says it is a great privilege to have such an accomplished and well-respected artist such as Bic Runga relaunch the Creative Residencies programme.

“For eight years The Arts Centre has been working to restore memories, so far reopening 15 buildings to enable spaces for creative endeavour to flourish once again,” he said.

“To be able to re-launch the valuable Creative Residencies programme with an artist as incredible as Bic is a huge milestone. We’re looking forward to having her help enliven The Arts Centre and share her amazing matatau (skill) and mahi (work) with our community.”

For her part the artist says she is excited to return to her hometown to research and create new work, and to be able to share her skills and expertise through the planned song-writing workshops.  

This week the star has announced her residency as well as supported her hometown as part of the line-up in the You are Us/Aroha Nui benefit concert.

Image source: Iain McGregor/Stuff – Bic Runga on stage with Lorde at the April 17 Aroha Nui benefit

About the Arts Centre restoration

The residency apartments were closed, alongside the rest of the centre’s category one heritage buildings, after the earthquakes.  As the $290 million restoration programme progresses, buildings are being reopened to the public. The Centre says it’s now two-thirds complete.

About Bic Runga

Since the release of her first single Drive in 1996 Bic has been awarded almost every musical honour in New Zealand, including the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award.  She has won 20 Tuis (New Zealand Music Awards) – the most received by any individual artist.

In 2016 she was the recipient of the Legacy award at the New Zealand Music Awards and inducted in to New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. In January 2006, The Queen made Runga a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Zealand New Year's Honours List. For more -


Story by Keri Malthus

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

18 Apr 2019

The Big Idea Editor

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