New Zealand’s cultural sector encompasses a broad range of cultural and creative industries and activities: film, music, broadcasting, design and digital technologies; our built heritage, libraries, literature, museums and galleries, performing and visual arts.
The sector is central to New Zealand’s economic activity, our wellbeing and quality of life.
New Zealanders value and participate in culture
New Zealanders place great value on culture, and engaging in cultural activities. The 2009 Cultural Indicators Report shows almost three quarters of New Zealanders see culture and cultural activities as very, extremely or critically important to national identity, ranking above sport or the economy.
Government’s investment in the sector ensures all New Zealanders are able to access high quality cultural experiences.
Economy and Employment
The sector is an engine of growth for the New Zealand economy. In recent years, it has either matched or outpaced other sectors of the economy in terms of income, employment and value added.
Culture is important to New Zealanders. A 2010 Ministry report notes that New Zealand households spend more on cultural items than they do on clothing and footwear, health care or passenger transport.
In the year ended June 2007, New Zealand households spent a total of $2.84 billion on cultural goods and services, representing an average of $34.70 a week per household. Spending on cultural goods and services accounted for 3.6 percent of all household expenditure in 2006/07. The same 2010 reports highlights that in 2007, cultural activity contributed a total of $3.15 billion to GDP, or 2.1 percent of New Zealand’s total industry contribution.
The cultural sector now supports a growing workforce of more than 126,000 New Zealanders. It continues to drive new opportunities in terms of innovation, creativity and collaboration with sectors such as tourism and education.
Architecture of the Sector
At the core of the sector, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage provides overall leadership, monitors funding for key cultural agencies, develops policy and administers legislation. Comparatively low levels of sponsorship and philanthropy in New Zealand mean that public funding plays a large part in sustaining key arts and cultural organisations.
The sector is home to tens of thousands of organisations which fit broadly into categories of heritage, culture and media.
For a general overview of the cultural sector, read our Cultural policy in New Zealand document.