Toipoto - Creative Career Mentoring

Ko koe tēnā ko au tēnei kīwai o te Kete

You take that handle and I'll take this handle of the kete. Working together we will succeed.


The Big Idea has been supporting Aotearoa creatives for 20 years. This is our kaupapa, this is what we do.

Now, we are stepping it up a notch with Toipoto. 

What is Toipoto?

Toipoto (Closer Together) is our new and free mentoring programme for the Auckland creative sector. Developed from our popular Mentoring in the Arts format, Toipoto has been expertly designed for those starting out or looking to build momentum in their creative journey, driven to build a sustainable and rewarding career in the arts.

This programme is for artists who are looking to find employment or to forge success in self-employment.

You will join The Big Idea community, one that’s experienced and motivated to help you connect to the people and pulse of the sector, to give you the tools and tips you need to thrive.  This isn’t about teaching you how to be creative (you have that covered already) - this is about arming you with the skills that are so often the hardest to acquire.

It doesn’t matter what your creative background is - visual or performance artist, event planner, producer, game developer, musician or the countless other disciplines the sector embraces - we have mentors with the real-life knowledge to help make your career sustainable and rewarding.  Toipoto is artist-led and gives you a different way of looking at your mahi.  

This programme is for artists who are looking to find employment or to forge success in self-employment. You may be a creative whose income has been affected by COVID-19 and are looking to or have applied to go on a jobseeker benefit.

The Big Idea exists to encourage artists to turn their big ideas into big successes. Toipoto could be what makes the difference for you.

Mentoring Taranaki Julia Moore-Pilbrow Photography

What can Toipoto do for you?

We want to help you thrive and find your place in the creative community.  While you work on your next project or find your ideal job, Toipoto will help position you for success through a combination of one to one and peer workshops, with a programme tailored to your individual needs, that follows your direction.

Personal development plan

Your personal development plan may include:

  • Planning, budgeting and tax
  • Writing successful funding grants and access opportunities
  • CV or portfolio creation 
  • Networking skills and developing opportunities for collaboration
  • Marketing and promoting yourself including social media and how to reach the widest  potential audiences
  • Wellbeing and support, connecting with like-minded creatives to build a sense of community 

Our experienced mentors have been where you are now, have travelled the road, established networks and are ready to pass on what they know to those motivated to make their creative career stand out.

Should I apply? 

We would love to hear from you if you are:  

  • Highly motivated
  • Living in Auckland 
  • A New Zealand resident
  • Aged between 18-64 years 
  • Have a recognised creative qualification or relevant experience in a creative field

This eligibility includes established creatives and those working in the sector who have been affected by COVID-19, and recent graduates from tertiary education in a creative field looking for a job or self employment in the creative sector. You may or may not be receiving Work and Income payments.

So what next?

If you live in Auckland, are a New Zealand resident, aged between 18-64 years, and have a relevant qualification or experience please fill out your details and hit the submit box below.  We will then get back to you with the online personal profile form.

If you’re eligible for the programme, one of our Toipoto mentors will be in touch within a matter of days.

We will mentor you and make a series of learning experiences available depending on the skills you need. Together, we will review progress. The programme runs for a maximum of nine months for any individual and comes with an ‘exit plan’ and three months support, to make sure that you have built the networks and gained the experience to hit the ground running.