Skip to main content

Chief Executive’s report - Tā te Tumuaki rīpoata

Culture and heritage play a vital role in New Zealand society and economy. New Zealanders value cultural activities highly and spend more on cultural items than they do on clothing and footwear, healthcare or passenger transport. In the five years to 2014 GDP in the arts and culture sub-set increased by 2.6 percent per annum compared with 1.6 percent per annum in the total economy.

Pukeahu National War Memorial Park opened in April 2015, and 50,000 people attended the first national dawn service at the Park on Anzac Day. April also saw the opening of the Great War Exhibition, which welcomed over 50,000 visitors in its first three months. The 2014-2019 WW100 Programme is well underway as the legacy project, the Ngā Tapuwae First World War Heritage Trails, launched its Gallipoli content in March, ready for Anzac Day 2015. The project includes a website, phone apps, signage and museum displays and there were 5,000 downloads of the Gallipoli app in its first three months.

With the passage of the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Bill into statute, the process of establishing the first set of National Landmarks Listings is now underway. This will identify the most iconic places to protect and promote.

With the support of the Cultural Diplomacy International Programme we’ve also showcased top New Zealand music, theatre, kapa haka, literature and visual arts at a range of international events, including the 2014 Edinburgh Festivals, the 2015 Taipei International Book Exhibition and in major exhibitions in Santiago and Buenos Aires.

On 1 August 2014, the TVNZ archives were transferred to Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision to enable better co-ordination of New Zealand’s wealth of audio-visual archives, with the aim of making them more accessible to all New Zealanders.

The build of our highly regarded and successful website Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand has been completed with the launch of the theme Creative and Intellectual Life in October 2014. The knowledge and expertise of staff working on this project have been noteworthy factors in its success.  We have experienced a digital surge with a 40 percent increase over the year in visits to Ministry websites including Te Ara, and WW100. The Ministry received 11.2 million visitors to its websites during the year.

Māori performing arts are going from strength to strength. There were more than 30,000 visitors to Te Matatini’s 2015 Kapa Haka Festival with a direct economic impact of $9 million in Christchurch.

During 2014/15 the Ministry undertook a Performance Improvement Framework process. In response, the Cultural Sector Strategic Framework forms the basis of our planning and engagement with our partners. 

The Ministry has worked well to deliver its wide range of programmes and activities. That a Ministry of our size is able to achieve so much is a positive reflection on our ability to forge productive partnerships and develop strong relationships with our funded agencies and the wider sector. It is also achieved through the commitment and hard work of our staff.

Finally, I would like to thank outgoing Chief Executive Lewis Holden and interim Chief Executive Helen Wyn for handing over a Ministry that is well placed and successfully delivering on its priorities.

Paul James
Chief Executive
Manatū Taonga / Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Updated on 3rd December 2015