Skip to main content

Strategic direction

Strategic Direction

Long-term government outcomes

The government’s involvement in the cultural sector recognises that culture is important in its own right, and that it also makes a positive contribution to a range of other important government priorities. The long-term outcomes sought by the government from its support for culture can be summarised as:

Insight and enrichment – Cultural activities provide experiences that are intrinsically satisfying and rewarding, and that directly enhance quality of life. They also often reflect the different characteristics of our communities and help us to better understand each other.

Strong communities and social prosperity – An informed understanding of our unique culture helps build strong communities. People confident in their own sense of cultural expression, history and heritage, and respectful and tolerant of that of others, can better achieve a cohesive society and a range of social goals.

A sense of nationhood – Our culture helps define New Zealand as a dynamic and creative nation with a unique place in the world, and also how New Zealanders feel about ourselves as a community. New Zealand has a unique culture that is influenced by many local communities as well as being part of the international community. Both contribute to New Zealand’s national identity.

Economic prosperity – Our creative talent and our cultural and creative industries contribute to economic prosperity by providing employment, generating income, adding value, boosting GDP and export earnings, encouraging tourism and suggesting new approaches and solutions. They are helping transform the New Zealand economy into one characterised by skill and innovation and by knowledge-based and value-added industries.

Government priorities for the next decade

The government’s priorities for the next decade are economic transformation; families young and old; and national identity. Cultural activities play a central role in supporting a sense of national identity directly (such as when information on New Zealand history is made available on a website or in a documentary); implicitly (for example, through local music or literature); and symbolically (by providing points of national connection, such as Anzac Day ceremonies). This enhances the well-being of individuals, families and communities. Culture is also economically important. Cultural activities stimulate originality, the development of talent and innovation which is also important to New Zealand’s economic success. Cultural industries (such as film) also have significant economic value.

State Services Development Goals

In managing its strategy, the Ministry has recognised the importance of the whole-of-government context. The six State Services Development Goals are directly relevant to decisions we make about how the Ministry operates, develops its capability, and contributes to the state sector. The Development Goals underpin the Ministry’s work and inform various initiatives that enhance organisational health and capability. For details of specific activities, see the sections on Operating Intentions and Organisational Health and Capability.

The Ministry’s operating environment 

The Ministry’s involvement in the cultural sector

A variety of other organisations – both government and non-government – are funded to support the achievement of the government’s long-term outcomes for culture. The Ministry is but one player, albeit one with a critical leadership role. Culture is not determined by the government or the Ministry. The Ministry’s involvement is simply to help make cultural experience visible and accessible.

Key Influences

Several significant factors influence the environment in which we work:

· growing cultural and ethnic diversity – Increasing cultural and ethnic diversity (especially in Auckland), the growing proportion of Pacific and Asian peoples, and an ageing population will transform New Zealand. These changes are increasing the demand for a greater diversity and customisation of cultural experiences.

· increasing demand for history, culture and heritage experiences – Demand is growing across all sectors of our society for information and activities on New Zealand’s history, people, land, culture and heritage. This is also linked to an increasing interest in preserving our history and engagement with important heritage objects and sites. This is expected to increase in the coming years.

· growing visibility of Māori culture – Māori culture and the relationship between Māori and Pakeha have a unique place in our increasingly diverse society. As the culture of New Zealand’s indigenous people, Māori culture is both important for Māori and will continue to play an important role in shaping all New Zealanders’ sense of the distinctiveness of our country.

· increasing place of culture in New Zealand’s international presence – The global success of New Zealand cinema, literature and music in recent years is transforming the way we see ourselves, and the way we are seen by the rest of the world. Our cultural exports provide opportunities for New Zealand to project our national identity abroad and to advance diplomatic, cultural, and economic priorities in key regions internationally.

· rapidly changing digital technologies – New Zealanders have been quick to seize the benefits of digital technology. Digital content is becoming an accepted part of our daily lives. We expect instant, affordable access to high-quality information. Rapidly changing digital information and communication technologies provide new opportunities to access, create and communicate cultural information and experiences.

The Ministry’s strategy

The Ministry’s strategy for the period 2008–2013 encompasses its intermediate outcomes, strategies, priorities, impacts and outcome indicators. The strategy is the means by which the Ministry contributes to the government’s priorities for the next decade, taking into account the various forces in its operating environment.

 (a) Role and outcomes

The Ministry’s role in support of the government’s outcomes and priorities is to help make culture visible and accessible.

The three outcomes we seek through our work are:

  • Outcome One – the diversity, visibility and accessibility of our culture, and participation in cultural experiences, are enhanced

The Ministry will achieve this by providing advice to the government about its involvement in culture, and through the production and delivery of cultural experiences and resources. Key influences that are reflected in Outcome One are: growing cultural and ethnic diversity; increasing demand for history, culture and heritage experiences; growing visibility of Māoriculture; rapidly changing digital technologies.

  • Outcome Two – the programmes, services and products of funded agencies are of high quality and widely accessible

The Ministry will achieve this by ensuring appropriate accountability, and by promoting sound governance and management of agencies funded through the department. Key influences that are reflected in Outcome Two are: growing cultural and ethnic diversity; increasing demand for history, culture and heritage experiences; growing visibility of Māori culture; rapidly changing digital technologies.

  • Outcome Three – the value and contribution of culture to New Zealand’s social, environmental and economic well-being is recognised  

The Ministry will achieve this by providing advice, and by coordinating activities and programmes that support other government agencies. Key influences that are reflected in Outcome Three are: increasing demand for history, culture and heritage experiences; growing visibility of Māori culture; increasing place of culture in New Zealand’s international presence.

(b) Strategic priorities

The Ministry’s key five-year strategies to achieve its outcomes and support government priorities are:

Strategic priorities


Contributes to (government priority)

Increase the visibility, accessibility and knowledge of New Zealand’s history, people, land, culture and society

Outcome One

National identity

Increase the visibility and accessibility of information on New Zealand cultural events and providers

Outcome One

National identity

Economic transformation

Identify and implement options for securing the effective delivery of public service broadcasting and local content in a multi-platform environment

Outcome One

National identity

Families young and old

Economic transformation

Safeguard New Zealand’s national heritage memorial sites, develop new symbols of nationhood and increase awareness and use of heritage memorial sites

Outcome One

National identity

Develop and maintain programmes to enhance the governance, performance and operational capability of funded agencies

Outcome Two

National identity

Economic transformation

Promote New Zealand’s cultural presence in key regions offshore

Outcome Three

Economic transformation

National identity

Provide advice on strengthening the policy, monitoring and institutional environment for cultural activities

All outcomes

All priorities


The Ministry expects that over the next five years the demand for cultural experiences will continue to grow at least as rapidly as it has over the past three years. It is expected therefore that the demands on the Ministry’s staff and its financial resources will also grow. Balancing the demands of an expanding workload with the need to develop and maintain capacity and capability will remain an important focus over the period. The following key themes in the Ministry’s strategy will assist in achieving its outcomes:

· creating value for our stakeholders and audiences

· continuously improving the Ministry’s systems, processes and knowledge management

· developing the Ministry’s people and culture.

Updated on 23rd July 2015