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Measuring and maximising public value - Te aromātai me te whakanui ake o te uara tūmatanui

What is the objective?

Decision-making and choices in resourcing cultural infrastructure and cultural activity are better informed by data, evidence and understanding of the public value of culture.

The cultural agencies are working together to better understand and increase the public value of cultural goods and services, including their wider economic and social benefits.

Cultural activities contribute to a wide range of outcomes that can improve wellbeing. Sometimes these are direct effects that increase people’s wellbeing through participation or experience with cultural activities. Often cultural activities contribute to a wider range of social and economic outcomes such as regional development and economic spillovers from the creative sector. Increasingly Government is using an investment lens to identify and measure the longer term impacts on peoples’ wellbeing to justify and prioritise public funding.

How we know if this is being achieved


How do we measure this?

Target (from SOI)


Use of evidence about public value in decisions about funded cultural investments


The baseline is at least one example of work in this area. See below for some examples.



2015/16 is the baseline year

Public subsidy per unit of cultural consumption

Cultural consumption data is not available.


Baseline is expected to be set in 2016/17

Measuring success

The following summarises the work that is underway including case studies.

Value and impact of culture

The Ministry has initiated a programme of work to measure the value and impact of culture. This is a challenging field internationally.

Drawing on international experience, we are working with our cultural sector agencies to develop a shared value framework and common language, a strengthened evidence base, and a narrative about how and why cultural activities matter for New Zealanders. As at the end of the financial year, planning is underway and work has commenced.

Investment in the performing arts

Government is increasingly using an investment approach to consider the case for public funding to realise longer term social and economic benefits. This approach is now well established in parts of the social sector and involves the measurement of impacts that have previously been considered intangible or unquantifiable. In 2015/16 the Ministry drew on this approach to present the case for investment in the performing arts (for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the NZ Symphony Orchestra and Te Matatini). We sought to quantify the longer term benefits of increased touring and performances and to identify where these benefits would lie. Our work highlighted demonstrable benefits from increased touring and performances in reaching wider audiences, particularly audiences in the regions, and youth. In the case of Te Matatini there are also benefits in increased showcasing of New Zealand culture offshore as part of wider NZ Inc. occasions.

The value of the WW100 commemorations

The WW100 team has been working with Colmar Brunton to conduct an interim evaluation (which builds on the 2012 benchmark survey) to assess whether and how New Zealanders’ knowledge and understanding of the First World War has been enhanced over the first half of the Centenary period.

The survey will be the main way of measuring the value of the WW100 commemorations to date. These are largely non-monetary values, for example the existence and instrumental values associated with the programme. The results will help to inform the future direction of the WW100 commemorations through to 2019.

Colmar Brunton ran the interim survey for the Ministry in February/March 2016. It received 2,001 responses. Respondent groups were weighted (by age, within gender, within region, and by ethnicity) to ensure the sample is representative of the New Zealand population aged fifteen and older.  

The survey included questions on involvement in, and response to, commemorative activities to date, and questions on the value New Zealanders attribute to these activities.

Updated on 16th March 2017