About the Kāpiti Coast

The Kāpiti Coast is a significant creative place in New Zealand with the country’s fourth largest creative workforce (as a percentage of the overall workforce) after Wellington City, Auckland City and Queenstown. In 2020, research by Creative Kāpiti identified sole traders account for 90% of the district’s creative sector, helping to increase the overall percentage of sole traders in the district to 29% – double the national average.

Creative Workforce

The majority of creative sole traders currently work from home based studios, bedrooms and garages, which disguises the true impact of the sector and decreases the connectivity within and across creative disciplines. Equally, the opportunity to readily connect with buyers and the public through a visible presence of old buildings occupied by creatives, and to attract visitors and be a hub of activity in the community, is also lost.

Housing insecurity and afforability issues also impact the ability to operate a home based creative practice. This has a multiplier effect when combined with infrequent income that is typical of many creative disciplines.

Location Advantage

The Kāpiti live music and performing arts scene produces many concerts, gigs and shows throughout the year, creating secondary employment in hospitality. The annual Māoriland Film Festival, Festival of the Pots, and Kāpiti Arts Trail also attract thousands of residents and visitors alike. A regular programme of creative learning workshops, artist studio openings, book launches, poetry readings, and gallery exhibitions throughout the year also provide plenty of scope to explore the creative coast. Creative Kāpiti captures this activity under Events and in 2022, is adding two new events, the Kāpiti Summer Series and Design & Arts Festival.

The completion of Transmission Gully will bring Wellington City UNESCO City of Film and the Kāpiti Coast much closer together which will be beneficial for audience development in both locations. Many arts management, technical and creative practitioners living on the coast already work in the capital city and it is likely we will start to see the reverse. Already, creative Wellingtonians are viewing the coast as a more affordable living option and Creative Kāpiti is receiving more membership enquiries. The relative ease of access to northern cities Palmerston North and Whanganui also offer further opportunity to the Kāpiti Coast creative workforce.

Creative Towns

A range of creative towns with distinct creative characters ensures visitors have plenty to see and experience. Browse our directory to create your own tour.


It is easy to lose a day in the town of Ōtaki in the north of the district. Home of Ngāti Raukura iwi and approximately 6,000 people, there is a growing number of creative busineses. Māoriland Creative Hub is home to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest annual indigenous film festival, and also provides regular exhibitions at the Toi Matarau Gallery, rangatahi and performance events throughout the year.

Ōtaki Pottery Club is the largest in Aotearoa New Zealand and hosts a range of pottery classes, qualifications and public events year round. The Tote Modern Gallery features monthly guest artists and the annual Festival of the Pots is a growing regional attraction that attracts thousands of people each Wellington Anniversary Weekend.

Artel Gallery + Store, provides a wide range of art from more than 120 artists and Hori, Toi Tangata Gallery Whakaaro Whakairo sculptors and carvers and artist studios that open during the year such as Lorna Tawhiti, also provide a rich visual arts experience worthy of a day’s touring. The Mirek Smisek Trust has now relocated two historic beehive kilns first created by Mirek Smisek. Plans are being progressed towards the development of an accompanying arts centre at Te Horo.

Ōtaki Players, stage shows throughout the year at the newly refurbished Ōtaki Civic Theatre.


Home to the district’s art gallery, Mahara Gallery is undergoing a redevelopment after many years of fundraising and construction is due to begin before the end of 2021.

The town of Waikanae is also home to an annual classical concert programme developed by the Waikanae Music Society, and home to many visual artists and other creative practitioners that you can view in our Directory.

Paraparaumu & Raumati

Te Raukura ki Kapiti

The region’s biggest town, Paraparaumu, is home to many architectural, interior, graphic and web design practices as well as the $12m performing arts centre, Te Raukura ki Kāpiti. Several hospitality businesses regularly host live gigs featuring the region’s professional musicians and bands. The Local Scene is a very popular live music event attended by hundreds of people and Rock The Pinetrees and Open Mic Sessions also provide gig opportunities.

The $6m Whalesong project in central Paraparaumu will feature a several life sized, humpback whale sculptures – the largest bronze sculpture on the planet. It will transform the district and is expected to attract thousands of visitors annually. Construction is due to start in 2022.

In Paraparaumu, the newly opened Summerstone Gallery is a dedicated space to view the pottery works of Judy and Mike Page and a monthly guest artist. Big Mac Slabs Creative Centre represents and exhibits many different designers, sculptors and artists from the district and in Raumati Village, the Kāpiti Arts and Crafts Society has a popular retail outlet.

Many of the region’s professional musicians, performing arts and music groups regularly perform in Paraparaumu. Coasters Musical Theatre, Kāpiti Playhouse,and the Kapiti Concert Orchestra offer a regular programme of events throughout the year. Community choirs, dance and music schools are also well attended.

Check out the Directory to view the range of design practices and artist studios in Paraparaumu.


A variety of creative events are regularly held at the local village hall, St. Peter’s Hall, ranging from exhibitions, poetry readings, concerts, and community events. The popular Mulled Wine Concerts featuring a range of classical music concerts and the Paekākāriki Art Studios featuring the work of several artists are also popular attractions. Check out the Directory to see the range of artist studios and more in Paekākāriki and make time to do the Paekākāriki Arts Walk when visiting.