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About the Ministry and the cultural sector = Mō te Manatū me te wāhanga tikanga

About the Ministry and the cultural sector = Mō te Manatū me te wāhanga tikanga

New Zealanders place great value on culture and participation in cultural activities. The cultural sector is vital to New Zealanders’ quality of life and to the social structure of our communities, towns and cities. The sector also makes a significant contribution to our economic success. It supports a growing workforce and drives innovation, creativity, and collaboration with other key sectors such as tourism and education.

New Zealand’s cultural sector encompasses a broad range of industries and activities including: film, broadcasting and digital technologies, design, literature, visual arts, music, theatre, dance, built heritage, libraries and archives, museums and galleries, and sport and recreation.

Thousands of individuals and organisations support our cultural sector, from individual artists to national funding bodies such as Creative New Zealand, the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air. National organisations like SPARC, Te Papa, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust play key roles in promoting, protecting and presenting our art and heritage. Equally important are the community arts organisations, the regional theatres and orchestras, and the more than 500 museums and galleries around the country.

While many cultural events happen without government support, the Crown’s investment across the cultural sector helps to ensure all New Zealanders are able to access and benefit from high-quality cultural experiences. In 2010/11 this support amounted to $360 million via Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage and Vote Sport and Recreation, administered by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. (Further information can be found in the financial statements in this report.)

The Ministry leads a government work programme that encompasses arts, heritage, broadcasting, and sport and recreation. We provide advice to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, the Minister of Broadcasting, and the Minister for Sport and Recreation.

The vast bulk of the funding for which the Ministry is responsible goes to national cultural and sport agencies. We manage their funding and accountability arrangements, and support the high performance of their boards.

The Ministry provides a cultural perspective for the work of other government departments. We lead the Cultural Diplomacy International Programme, which promotes New Zealand overseas through cultural activities, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and Tourism New Zealand. We have been working with other agencies to ensure that New Zealand’s unique arts and heritage feature strongly in the Rugby World Cup NZ2011 Festival programme.

The Ministry negotiates protocols with iwi under the ‘Cultural Redress’ section of historical Treaty of Waitangi settlements. We administer key cultural legislation, including the Protected Objects Act 1975 (to protect artefacts and taonga) and the Flags, Emblems, and Names Protection Act 1981 (to protect objects and symbols of national identity).

The Ministry also supports and promotes New Zealand culture through its own services, grants and products. We maintain war graves and national memorials, including the National War Memorial in central Wellington. We administer grants for historical research, Waitangi Day celebrations, and the construction projects of regional museums and galleries. We produce historical works, and are developing New Zealand’s official online encyclopedia, Te Ara. We maintain several historical websites, one of which (NZHistory.net.nz) includes a teaching resource, and we provide cultural content for the ‘what’s on’ website Eventfinder.


Updated on 23rd July 2015