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About the cultural sector - Ko te rāngai toi, ahurea, taonga

Our distinctive culture is core to what makes New Zealand a great place to live. Cultural expression, engagement and understanding are fundamental to a vibrant and healthy society and help define what it is to be a New Zealander.

Culture is produced by creative and innovative individuals, groups and organisations. The activities, goods and services they create, produce, distribute and present to the world have a value which is social and economic, as well as cultural. Cultural expression expands individual capacities, helps bind society and provides jobs and innovation in the economy.

Māori culture is central to our sense of New Zealand’s uniqueness as a place, a society and a nation. Strong partnerships between iwi-Māori and the Crown will ensure Māori culture is protected and flourishes.

Leading New Zealand’s rapid demographic transformation, Auckland is emerging as a vibrant hub that celebrates our strong Pacific location and Asian links.

Culture strongly influences how we think and feel not just about our big cities, where most New Zealanders live, but our overall sense of who we are as a people.

Government makes a significant contribution to the broad cultural sector each year. In 2015/16, Government invested almost $400 million in heritage, the arts, media and sport through Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage and Vote Sport and Recreation, and also considered policy and legislative settings, in particular in the media sector, to ensure they remain fit for purpose. Support for the cultural sector is also provided through other public sources, most notably education and local government. In 2015/16 around $86 million was provided by the Lottery Grants Board to four key cultural sector agencies in their capacity as Statutory Bodies. The cultural sector, in turn, contributes to achieving a wide range of outcomes across other government portfolios.

The Ministry’s cultural sector strategic framework informs the criteria we use for prioritising government investment, to ensure New Zealand’s distinctive culture flourishes now and for generations to come.

How we use the word “culture”    

The 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.

What we include in the “cultural sector” and “funded agencies”

When this Annual Report refers to the “cultural sector” we are referring to the mixed (private and public) economy of producers, distributors, consumers and funders of cultural goods and services. “Funded agencies” refers only to those agencies funded directly through the Ministry under Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage and Vote Sport and Recreation.



Updated on 16th March 2017