The year in review = He āta tirohanga ki te tau
The Ministry’s work in 2010/11 responded to the Government’s goal for the cultural sector: New Zealand’s distinctive culture enriches our lives. Across our key work areas – arts, heritage, media and sport – we worked to enhance participation and access to culture for all New Zealanders.
A difficult economic climate and the Government’s objective of lifting the performance of the public service challenged us to focus on effective and efficient use of resources, ensuring value for money from public investment in the cultural sector.
Four key areas of the Ministry’s work, driven by the Government’s objectives and external events, are outlined below.
Lifting the performance of cultural organisations
Legislative change for the cultural sector
One of the strategic directions identified in the Ministry’s Statement of Intent for 2010-2013 was: Improving the viability of government-funded cultural organisations. During 2010/11 the Ministry progressed a programme to streamline and rationalise governance and legislative arrangements for a number of our major entities, to ensure the cultural sector is as well organised, aligned and effective as possible.
This programme included the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa Bill, which had its first reading in August 2010. The Bill seeks to simplify Creative New Zealand’s governance structure by disestablishing the Arts Council, the two Arts Boards and the South Pacific Arts Committee and replacing them with a single Arts Council. Significantly, the Bill includes specific provision in legislation to ensure Māori and Pacific peoples are represented on the Council, where they can have a direct role in deciding the direction, priorities and policies of the organisation as well as the allocation of the budget.
The Ministry also developed legislation to modernise the governance arrangements of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and reform the processes for archaeological consenting. The Bill, which is yet to have its first reading, seeks to streamline the operations of the Trust in a way that provides for better balancing between heritage values and other values such as those associated with private property ownership.
The broadcasting sector was also the subject of legislative work. A key Government priority for the broadcasting sector is to achieve an efficient, competitive, stable broadcasting environment, delivering quality content to more audiences. The Television New Zealand Amendment Act, passed in July 2011, replaced TVNZ’s Charter with a more general set of statutory functions to enable TVNZ to more easily determine its own priorities. The Act also introduced a mechanism to ‘unlock’ pre-1989 works held in TVNZ’s Archive for re-screening, allowing New Zealanders access to heritage television content.
A more cohesive cultural sector
The Ministry has been working to encourage greater strategic and organisational coherence across the cultural sector, in order to ensure the best possible value from the Government’s investment. A key aspect of this in 2010/11 was the development of a cultural sector framework as a step towards more integrated statements of intent for the sector and the agencies within it. We also worked with our funded agencies to review the scope for shared back-office services, including ‘centres of excellence’ in specific areas to maximise efficiency and reduce duplication. Work was underway at the year end investigating the possibility of the Ministry sharing premises with some of its agencies in the future.
A more cohesive cultural sector brings the potential for cultural organisations to share in a broader vision about what the sector as a whole can achieve for New Zealanders. The Ministry has identified in its 2011-2014 Statement of Intent three desired outcomes for the cultural sector. These are:
Create – Cultural activity flourishes in New Zealand, assisted by a financially viable cultural sector.
Preserve – Our culture and heritage can be enjoyed by future generations, including heritage collections, tikanga and traditions.
Engage – Engagement in cultural activities is increasing, benefitting the cultural sector, our wider community and the New Zealand economy.
These outcomes will help guide the Ministry’s work with the cultural sector through 2011/12 and beyond.
A key Government priority for the broadcasting sector was to achieve an effective transition to digital broadcasting. In September 2010 the Government announced the dates for New Zealand’s switch to digital television, beginning in September 2012.
The Ministry established a Going Digital Office to be responsible for ensuring all New Zealanders have the advice and support they need to successfully convert to digital television. In addition to a nationwide advertising campaign and a Going Digital website (www.GoingDigital.co.nz), a team of nine community advisers worked with a range of community groups around the country to get information out well in advance of the change. Vehicles ranged from A&P shows to Probus clubs to iwi discussion groups.
The free-to-air digital terrestrial television network was extended during the year, ensuring 86 percent of New Zealanders can now choose whether to watch Freeview via UHF aerial or via satellite. The Ministry worked with the Ministry for the Environment to manage the environmentally safe disposal of end-of-life televisions during the switchover period.
Support was also provided to regional broadcasters for the transition through an $850,000 assistance package.
The future of TVNZ 7
A challenging issue in broadcasting was the future of the public service channel TVNZ 7 after its current funding expires at the end of June 2012. The Ministry provided advice to the Government on a range of options for the channel. The Government decided not to extend TVNZ 7’s funding and reaffirmed its focus on the contestable funding of high-quality New Zealand content through NZ On Air across different platforms, reaching the widest possible audience.
History and heritage
Connecting New Zealanders with their culture and heritage
A key Government objective for the cultural sector is: Improving New Zealanders’ understanding of their country, history, culture, heritage and society, as noted in the Ministry’s 2010-2013 Statement of Intent. The Government has indicated an emphasis on participation, ensuring people feel connected with their culture and heritage and can engage in a way that is meaningful to them.
During 2010/11 the Ministry continued to support this approach through its own cultural products, ensuring they had relevance and appeal to the widest possible audience of New Zealanders across the demographics. The Ministry’s suite of online resources (including Te Ara – the online encyclopedia of New Zealand, NZHistory.net.nz and the 28th Māori Battalion and Vietnam War websites) continued to provide an accessible and interactive means for New Zealanders to learn about their culture and heritage. The Ministry also developed a new website, QuakeStories, to capture people’s earthquake experiences, memories and images.
Te Ara reached a new milestone with the rollout of an entry on Social Connections and high-profile launches of the Nelson and Marlborough entries. Te Ara’s ongoing relevance to New Zealanders was demonstrated by a striking increase in visits to pages on historic earthquakes and active faults after Christchurch’s February earthquake, reaching close to 20,000 a day.
A highlight for the 28th Māori Battalion website (a bilingual site developed on behalf of the 28th Māori Battalion Association by the Ministry in partnership with Te Puni Kōkiri) was the receipt of an IPANZ Gen-I Public Sector Excellence Award for excellence in Crown-Māori relationships. During 2010/11 descendants of the 28th Māori Battalion continued to embrace the website, sharing memories of tūpuna, seeking and providing information to each other, and posting images.
The Ministry’s wider work for the upcoming First World War Centenary commemorations was driven by the aim of engaging people and communities in stories about the War and its significance to our society and culture. During the year we developed advice for Cabinet, proposing a structure to manage New Zealand’s recognition of the Centenary and also proposing a number of specific commemorative projects. The first stage of the Memorial Park development was completed in time for ANZAC Day 2011, providing a physical space for people to come and engage with New Zealand’s war history and the memory of those who served.
A collaborative approach for the heritage sector
The Government has signalled a growing emphasis on a cohesive, cross-agency approach to the management of its interests in the heritage sector. This is reflected in the Ministry’s commemorations policy, which seeks to achieve a collaborative approach to commemorations, enabling better planning and better value for money. The policy was approved by Cabinet in August 2010 and a steering group was established, representing key government agencies involved in commemorations.
During 2011/12 the Ministry will advance work towards a cross-agency approach with the development of a strategy for the heritage sector as a whole.
Regional work: Christchurch and Auckland
Christchurch: supporting recovery in the local cultural sector
The Christchurch earthquakes have had a profound impact on local culture and heritage. A proactive response from the Ministry was needed to support Christchurch’s sports and cultural organisations and heritage places damaged by the disaster, and to help ensure culture and heritage are a key part of Christchurch’s rebuild.
The Ministry located a staff member in Christchurch to liaise directly with the City Council and affected cultural groups, and to keep a dedicated Wellington-based team informed on what was happening across arts, heritage, sport and recreation, and broadcasting.
Working with other government agencies, Christchurch City Council and the Christchurch cultural sector, the Ministry initiated a coordinated approach to the sector’s recovery and contribution to the Canterbury Earthquakes Recovery Strategy led by CERA. We also worked closely with Council staff responsible for the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Building Fund and helped ensure cultural sector stakeholders were supported to contribute to the Council’s central city plan, due to be delivered December 2011.
The Ministry led a number of specific initiatives to facilitate the cultural sector’s recovery:
• With Creative New Zealand we began work to identify requirements for performance facilities and exhibition spaces in the short and longer term.
• We developed an Order in Council to streamline processing of applications to modify, damage or destroy archaeological sites (including pre-1900 heritage buildings) under the Historic Places Act 1993, which was used effectively to speed assessment of sites.
• We began a mentoring project for ten cultural organisations, to help them attract significant philanthropic funding tailored to their recovery goals.
• We worked with the Air Force Museum at Wigram, which has responded proactively to the earthquakes by working with local community museums and making its largely undamaged facilities available to other groups for temporary accommodation.
Auckland: the transition to the Super City
Work also took place at the other end of the country, to help ensure a strong place for culture in Auckland’s transition to the Super City in recognition of the importance of Auckland’s success to the nation as a whole. Our work included:
• assisting the Auckland Transition Agency in establishing governance and management arrangements for Auckland’s cultural institutions in the transition
• working closely with the newly established Auckland Council on provisions for arts, culture and heritage in the first Auckland Plan
• participating in the business planning of Regional Facilities Auckland, which has the primary governance responsibility for Auckland-owned cultural institutions.
Updated on 23rd July 2015