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About Manatū Taonga

Nature and scope of Manatū Taonga’s operations

Manatū Taonga / the Ministry for Culture and Heritage (the Ministry) is the government’s leading adviser on cultural matters. The Ministry funds, monitors and supports a range of cultural agencies and delivers a range of high-quality cultural products and services.

The Ministry provides advice to government on where to focus its interventions in the cultural sector. It seeks to ensure that Vote funding is invested as effectively and efficiently as possible, and that government priorities are met.

The Ministry has a strong track record of delivering high-quality publications (including websites), managing significant heritage and commemorations, and acting as guardian of New Zealand’s culture and kaitiaki of New Zealand’s taonga. The Ministry’s work prioritises cultural outcomes and also supports educational, economic and social outcomes, linking with the work of a range of other government agencies.

Te Arataki is the Ministry’s strategy to support Māori culture as a fundamental part of New Zealand’s identity. Active support and protection of Māori arts, culture and heritage in a Treaty post-settlement environment, based on strong Crown and iwi-Māori partnerships, will continue to be central to our work with sector agencies. 

The Ministry is responsible to, and supports, the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage; the Minister of Broadcasting; and the Minister for Sport and Recreation. Appendix 3 shows the Acts of Parliament and Regulations we administer.

The Ministry’s role in the sector

The Ministry is uniquely placed to have an overview of the full range of cultural sector activities and issues, and to inform thinking, within government and the sector, on how support for culture can contribute to government’s goals.

The Ministry has a leadership role and heads an informal sector cluster of funded agencies, based on voluntary collaboration. We have been working with cultural sector agencies to develop a whole-of-sector approach. In addition to engaging on

specific policy, research, partnerships and development areas, and aligning some funding strategies, agencies collaborate on a range of initiatives to improve value for money and develop new sources of funding outside government.

In addition, the Ministry has a leadership role with regard policy and legislative frameworks, and works with the sector to ensure they remain fit for purpose in a rapidly changing environment.

Managing in a changeable operating environment

The Ministry’s ability to identify and manage risks affects our ability to achieve our goals. We mitigate risks effectively through having strong governance structures for all our activities and through having an effective risk management policy, including business continuity plans. The Ministry’s Leadership Team meets weekly to discuss progress on major projects. We regularly assess our organisational performance, our financial position and our compliance with statutory and internal policy requirements, and refine our management strategies in response.

To meet the challenge across our business we are reviewing and updating our operating model. We are refining our portfolio management approach so that our agreed priorities become the primary unit of analysis and engagement. We want to be able to:

  • understand opportunity costs
  • make trade-offs transparently
  • balance short term and long term investments
  • take a ‘managed risk’ approach so that we can encourage innovation
  • make recommendations on disinvesting in low return investments.

We know that the sector needs a strong evidential base to support our future strategy and operating model and we are making more resources available for research and evaluation. 

Our people

The Ministry has a capable workforce which is committed to advancing the cultural sector.  We are characterised by a “can do”, innovative, agile and collaborative culture and an ability to get things done.

We periodically survey staff engagement and identify actions to improve engagement levels. The current focus is on developing a better sense of common purpose and reviewing our approach to performance management.  We are implementing our workforce strategy to support our strategic direction and changing operating model.

The Ministry is committed to the principle and practice of equal employment opportunities in the recruitment, employment, training and promotion of staff, and to the identification and elimination of barriers that cause or perpetuate inequality in employment opportunities.


Updated on 27th November 2015