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Improving cultural asset sustainability - Te whakanui ake o te toitū o ngā rawa rāngai

What is the objective?

There is greater clarity on the most valuable cultural assets and priorities for investing in cultural infrastructure (tangible and intangible) over time within available resources. Sustainability is the ability to ensure that cultural assets can be enhanced or maintained for the benefit of future generations. In the cultural sector sustainability involves:

  • preserving cultural assets, including protecting assets against natural disasters such as earthquakes
  • strengthening cultural agencies’ financial wellbeing and resilience to shocks.

This requires working with a wide range of agencies, including local government, to ensure regulatory and financial levers are working together to create the best environment for preservation. With static or declining public funding, the Ministry, cultural agencies, iwi and local government are working together to plan and prioritise investment and to increase revenue from non-government sources.

How we know if this is being achieved


How do we measure this?

Target (from SOI)


Progress on establishing national historic landmarks

The policy for the National Historic Landmarks has been prepared by Heritage New Zealand and received by the Minister.


The Ministry is completing related preparatory work and a registration target will be set in future years.



Baseline is expected to be set in 2016/17

Proportion of sector funding obtained from public sector


The baseline is 84.9% based on data from our agencies’ 2014/15 annual reports. 2015/16 annual reports are not yet finalised.



2015/16 is the baseline year

Equity of New Zealand’s largest cultural institutions

The baseline is $1.4 billion based on data from our agencies’ 2014/15 annual reports.



2015/16 is the baseline year

Household expenditure (real) on cultural products and services

The baseline was set in the Statement of Intent as $107.20 based on the 2013 Household Economic Survey from Statistics New Zealand. The next survey is due to be published at the end of 2016.


Comparison data not available until 2017

Arts and recreation business net births

The baseline is 24 net births based on 2015 data from Business demography statistics from Statistics New Zealand.


2015/16 is the baseline year

Measuring success

The following sets out some of the baseline evidence of cultural sector sustainability, and new initiatives to improve sustainability (the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund and Heritage EQUIP).

Proportion of sector funding obtained from public sector

The sustainability of the cultural sector depends in part upon diversifying its funding sources. Although government is and will continue to be a major funder of the cultural sector, cultural agencies should also be looking at ways to generate income from the private sector, whether through the box office, sponsorship or philanthropy. The following graph shows the proportion of public sector revenue over the past 10 years for the agencies the Ministry funds in the arts, heritage, media and sport sub-sectors.

Equity of New Zealand’s largest cultural institutions

Equity is defined here as being net assets (total assets minus total liabilities). The following table sets out the equity in each cultural agency that the Ministry funds (taken from 2014/15 annual reports as 2015/16 reports are not finalised yet).


Funded agency

Equity $000


Creative NZ



NZ Music Commission



NZ Symphony Orchestra



Royal NZ Ballet



Te Matatini



Antarctic Heritage Trust



Heritage NZ



Te Papa



Broadcasting Standards Authority



Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision



NZ Film Commission



NZ On Air



Drug Free Sport NZ



Sport NZ


Total Sector



Arts and recreation net births

In any given year, a number of cultural organisations will be created and others will cease to operate. In a more sustainable cultural sector, we would expect to see more births than deaths, and the number of net births growing over time.

The graph below tracks the number of arts and recreation business net births over the past five years. It shows a movement from a period of net deaths to a small number of net births. This is due to a combination of increasing births and decreasing deaths over the period.

Arts and recreation businesses are classified here in accordance with the Australia and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classifications (ANZIC06).

Funding cultural asset sustainability

The Ministry progressed two new funding initiatives to improve cultural asset sustainability: the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund and Heritage EQUIP.

The Regional Culture and Heritage Fund

In May 2016, the Government replaced the Regional Museums Policy for Capital Construction Projects (RMP) with the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund. RMP funded museums with collections of national significance. The new Regional Culture and Heritage Fund will benefit a wider range of cultural organisations throughout New Zealand to undertake capital construction projects: performing arts centres, heritage complexes and iwi museums/whare taonga as well as museums and art galleries. The Regional Culture and Heritage Fund was introduced to ensure regions are supported to showcase their heritage, to offer new cultural experiences and to drive economic development. The fund is $30,527 million over four years. Funding will be allocated on a contestable basis.

Heritage EQUIP

During the year the Ministry developed the Heritage Earthquake Upgrade Incentive Programme (Heritage EQUIP). Heritage EQUIP will provide $12 million over the next four years to assist private owners of nationally significant heritage buildings that are earthquake-prone. It will comprise a contestable discretionary grant scheme. Eligibility for funding will include privately owned earthquake-prone heritage buildings that are Category 1 or Category 2 historic places on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero.

The Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage announced Heritage EQUIP in August 2016; the first grant round will open later in the year.

Updated on 16th March 2017