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 (Household spending on culture) notes that New Zealand households spend more on cultural items than they do on clothing and footwear, health care or passenger transport. Overall, the cultural sector and creative industries employ 126,000 New Zealanders and contribute over $3 billion to GDP (2.1% of New Zealand’s total industry contribution, based on 2007 figures).
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 Household spending on culture 2010 report 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.
It continues to drive new opportunities in terms of innovation, creativity and collaboration with sectors such as tourism and education.
Architecture of the Sector
The Ministry is the government’s leading advisor on media, cultural and heritage matters. We fund, monitor and support a diverse portfolio of 19 agencies, including Crown entities, non-government organisations (NGOs), and a statutory body. 2012/13 direct government investment in the cultural sector, which includes arts, culture, heritage, media, sport and recreation, totalled $350 million. All but approximately $28 million of this funding is channelled through sector entities.
The Ministry delivers its own products and services, including a wide range of publishing projects, managing some heritage assets, and coordinating the First World War centenary commemorations across government. Its work contributes to cultural, educational, economic, and social outcomes, supporting the work of a range of other government agencies.
The Ministry has a leadership role and heads an informal sector cluster of funded agencies, based on voluntary collaboration. It has been working with cultural sector agencies to develop more of a whole-of-sector approach. In addition to engaging on specific policy, research, partnerships and development areas, and aligning some funding strategies, agencies have more recently been collaborating on a range of initiatives to improve value for money and develop new sources of funding outside government.
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.