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About the Ministry and the cultural sector = Mō te Manatū me te wāhanga tikanga

New Zealand’s distinctive culture enriches our lives

This vision recognises that our distinctive culture is a core part of what makes New Zealand a great place to live. New Zealand’s cultural sector is diverse, touching many areas of our lives, and New Zealanders place great value on these activities. It can involve people in their own communities coming together to explore family history, play sport, or participate in a local festival, as well as public and private institutions that engage New Zealanders and visitors, and showcase our heritage, our arts and our sports to New Zealanders and the world.

Māori culture makes New Zealand unique in a globalised world and is central to our sense of place, identifying us as a nation. Active support for, protection of the diversity of Māori culture, and participation in distinct Te Ao Māori activity – based on strong partnerships between Māori and the Crown – will ensure this fundamental feature of New Zealand culture flourishes.

Government funded cultural activity sits within a broader context which includes the contribution local government makes to arts, culture, heritage, and a complex and productive ecology of companies and NGOs, collectives and individuals. New Zealanders value culture and cultural activities highly and 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).

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 Ministry’s medium-term challenge is to establish itself as the strategic and results leader for the government-funded cultural sector, building on its policy, funding and monitoring roles. This requires agreement on shared outcomes and a set of measurable, medium-term sector results; clear targets and milestones; and a joint sector work programme.

How we use the word “culture”

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 23rd July 2015