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Chief Executive’s report = Tā te Tumuaki rīpoata

Creating value through cultural investment

Despite a financial environment that remains challenging, the Ministry and its partner agencies can report a highly successful year.

The constraints on traditional sources of non-box-office revenue, whether corporate sponsorship or public funding, have required those in the cultural sector to think harder about their value propositions – and to think in terms not only of cultural objectives but also of broader objectives or outcomes beyond the cultural sector. Whether this value comes from better educational results for children in low-decile communities, export receipts earned from our domestic screen industry, or the building of stronger diplomatic and trade relationships through cultural exchange, the 2012/13 year can be judged a success for the cultural sector.

New Zealand’s experience as Guest Country of Honour at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair epitomised this multi-faceted approach to value creation. In addition to a near 1,000 percent increase in translations of New Zealand publications, the Fair generated amongst the German media and public enormous exposure to New Zealand and its offerings in trade, tourism and education.

At heart, though, the primary reason New Zealand governments invest in cultural institutions and activities is to help us, as New Zealanders, connect with our stories, our histories and our distinctive heritage. Whether visiting a museum or art gallery, experiencing the work of our performing arts companies, accessing on-line content or viewing New Zealand films or television programmes, New Zealanders demonstrate daily the value they place on their culture.

The upcoming centenary of the First World War will be an opportunity for New Zealanders to reconnect with one of the most significant events in our history. The Ministry is involved in a very constructive partnership with other government agencies in preparing for the commemorations. The centrepiece will be the National War Memorial Park in Wellington, currently under development, and from 2014 on there will be a full programme of activities throughout the country.

The Ministry’s programme of print and, increasingly, on-line publishing continues apace, with work progressing on a number of histories relating to New Zealand’s experience of the First World War. The first publications in this series will hit the bookstores toward the end of 2013. More generally, our websites, including in particular Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and, continue to show impressive growth both in content and usage.

Our experience of conflict is a major determinant of our identity as New Zealanders. Equally significant in our distinctive history and heritage is the Crown-Māori relationship. Reflecting this, the Ministry has initiated a major project charting the history of the Treaty Settlement process and has partnered with the Ministry of Justice to undertake this important work.

This annual report shows progress in a large number of other areas too. In particular, the Going Digital project has now seen the conversion to digital television of all of the South Island as well as Hawke’s Bay in the North. The project is on target for completion in the 2013/14 financial year. 

The breadth and depth of work the Ministry is responsible for belies its small size. I am hugely grateful for the hard work and commitment of the Ministry’s staff and for the support of our partner agencies.

Lewis Holden
Chief Executive
Manatū Taonga / Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Updated on 23rd July 2015