SoundCheck Aotearoa is an action group formed in 2020 with a mission to foster a safe and inclusive culture for the music community. We believe that action is needed to address inequitable representation challenge systemic discrimination and advance impactful change across the music industry and we are looking at ways to work together across the music community to achieve this.
We are working in partnership with Māori Music Industry Coalition. Currently, the work is being managed by a small group of people who have other roles in the music industry:
We took on this work because we believe it needs to be done, and we each have the full support of the organisations we work for. We are working with external specialists to advise and guide us.
We have not created a formal structure for SoundCheck Aotearoa yet, as we want to hear from the music community first. We are aware that the work needs to take in a variety of voices and we need to be structured in a way that has the trust and confidence of everyone in the music community.
Our initial work has been funded by Recorded Music NZ and APRA AMCOS with funding for specific projects contributed by NZ Music Commission NZ On Air and Te Māngai Pāho. From July 2021 our work will be funded by NZ Music Commission NZ On Air Recorded Music NZ and APRA AMCOS. We are looking for other suitable funding opportunities so that we can continue to expand our work and roll out the long-term strategies needed to create culture change in our industry.
The work needed to create SoundCheck Aotearoa had begun before publicity emerged around a group of Wellington musicians in 2020 and recent media coverage around other incidents in the NZ music community. While recent media coverage has highlighted the importance of this project our initial phase and focus of work has been informed by the Amplify Aotearoa report from Massey University about a survey of the music community in Aotearoa. That research found that 45% of women and over 70% of gender diverse people report that their safety in places where music is made or performed is a barrier to success in their music careers. Respondents to the research (confidentially) reported instances of sexual harassment sexual coercion and assault unwanted physical advances and inappropriate comments pertaining to appearance.
At this time we are not able to receive, investigate or take action in relation to formal complaints of specific cases of sexual harm. However, as our work progresses, we aim to provide resources, information and training that can assist everyone across the music community to prevent and respond to sexual harm.
We can connect you with other resources, and we encourage anyone who needs support or information about complaints to first make use of the range of support services listed on our website. One of the services listed is HELP. HELP is an independent sexual harm crisis agency, and it is available 24/7 nationwide on 0800 623 1700 (you can call anonymously if you wish), firstname.lastname@example.org, or directly via its website. HELP can provide information, support and practical assistance to anyone who has experienced sexual harm, anyone supporting a friend or family member who has experienced it, or anyone else who is affected.
We don’t believe that anyone should be pressured into taking action, and we support the survivors’ right to choose. The options available for someone to make a formal complaint, if someone chooses to do so, include:
– the relevant employer or other person responsible for a job or workplace
– the Human Rights Commission – if in an employment, contracting or volunteer setting.
– Employment NZ if the issue occurred in an employment setting.
– Police if the incident is a criminal offence.
SoundCheck Aotearoa is taking steps to assist everyone across the music community in a program of culture change. This sort of change doesn’t happen overnight and building awareness and consensus will take some time. Representatives from the screen sector tell us they have seen a real difference in attitudes towards sexual harm after the first year of their work and we believe we can do the same in the music community but that would be only the start of an ongoing programme.
While the longer-term work is continuing, we will do our best to make practical resources available so that you can take some steps in your workplace right away. There are several resources and practical ideas available from our website.
We are offering Professional Respect training days on a regular basis and we encourage everyone to sign up for a session and learn more. More information is available HERE.