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Arts & Culture

Culture spans the breadth of visual and performing arts, including but not limited to music, literature, theatre and dance.  

Many large publicly funded organisations fall into this category, such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Royal New Zealand Ballet.  There are thousands of national, regional and community based cultural organisations in New Zealand, a great number of which operate independently and without government support.

Creative New Zealand, the national agency for arts development, is responsible for supporting, maintaining and developing community and professional arts.  With all cultural organisations, revenue from grants, private sponsorship or ticket sales is necessary to meet operating costs and remain sustainable.

Government supports New Zealand music through New Zealand on Air, which funds artists and promotes their work domestically and internationally. The New Zealand Music Commission also plays a key role, facilitating growth in the industry by providing information and advice to new and established artists.

In the 2016/17 financial year, Creative New Zealand increased the number of community arts grant made through the Creative Communities Scheme from 1,725 to 1,806 and attendance at events it supports increased from 1,250,415 to 1,286,665.

Both the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) extended their reach to more centres throughout the country. Performing in 15 centres in 2018, the NZSO will stage more family concerts and an innovative series on Wellington’s waterfront that will appeal to new audiences. Outside the three main stage seasons, the RNZB will continue its much-loved and popular Tutus on Tour and Ballet in a Box programme planned for seven centres throughout 2018 in Gore, Tauranga, Oamaru, Hamilton, Taupo, Whanganui and Kerikeri.

The arts and culture sector has delivered a great deal in the 2016/17 financial year and key achievements arising from Creative New Zealand's work are detailed here.

More details can be found in Creative New Zealand's Annual Report 2016/17.

This Ministry uses the word “culture” in a broad way to include Māori culture and the cultures of all New Zealanders. When we refer to culture we see it as including arts, heritage, media, and sport and recreation.


Updated on 12th January 2018