Skip to main content

Culture is extremely important to our sense of national identity

New research shows that almost three quarters of those surveyed think that culture and cultural activities are very, extremely or critically important to our sense of national identity.

The report, ‘Cultural Indicators Report for New Zealand 2009’, produced by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage was released today.

“New evidence shows that people think culture is more important to our sense of national identity than either sport or the economy,” said Lewis Holden, Chief Executive, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“But perhaps more important is the contribution of the cultural sector to the economy.”

“The arts and cultural sector is a significant part of the workforce with more than 126,000 people now employed in the cultural workforce,” said Mr Holden. The overall percentage of people employed in cultural occupations has increased from 6 percent in the 2006 report to almost 7 percent in the 2009 report.

“Evidence that employment in the cultural sector is growing is especially heartening as it dispels age old myths that pursuing study or work in the arts is a fruitless task.”

“The arts and cultural sector provides work not only for artists, curators, designers, screenwriters and musicians but also for builders, accountants, printers and many more,” said Mr Holden.

“The sector also provides real economic benefits to New Zealand’s economy in terms of the income and value added to the economy. The cultural indicators suggest that cultural and creative industries have grown at least at pace with the rest of the economy.”

“This report is positive. The next report in three years time will indicate to what extent the economic downturn has impacted on the cultural sector,” said Mr Holden.

The Cultural Indicators report is made up of nineteen indicators and five themes: engagement, cultural identity, diversity, social cohesion and economic development.

Other interesting facts:

  • Median incomes for those in creative occupations ($36,800) remain slightly above the national median for all occupations ($33,700).
  • New Zealand households spent $2.84 billion on cultural items in 2006-07, a slight decline from 2003-04.  This was 3.6 percent of all household expenditure.
  • Hours of local content on television have increased substantially in the last five years, though this is the result of additional new channels being available, and the proportion (26 percent) is the same as five years ago.
  • The income of the cultural industries has remained largely stable at just above $12 billion.

Updated on 23rd July 2015