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The cultural dividend for New Zealand

The cultural dividend for New Zealand

Culture benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders both directly and indirectly. These benefits in turn motivate New Zealanders’ continued participation in their culture, and reinforce the development of a thriving cultural sector. Further, the more New Zealanders value their culture, the more they will participate as producers and consumers.

New Zealand’s economic development:

Our cultural industries make a substantial economic contribution. In 2007 they accounted for $12.4 billion in sales of goods and services and $3.1 billion in added-value to the economy. In 2006 they employed 126,531 people.[1] The cultural sector has increased consumer income and jobs locally, and this indicates that New Zealanders are increasing their participation in culture and cultural activities.

Increased innovation:

Creativity fuels innovation, which is essential to shaping a modern economy. Through innovation we develop the intellectual property, design concepts, and new forms of delivery that provide jobs and income for New Zealand. Innovation breeds talent, skills and education, which in turn is reflected in productivity. Stimulating the creative and innovative production of goods and services pays.

Thriving communities:

A thriving culture matters for our communities. Vibrant and diverse communities demonstrate the tolerance, shared values and freedom of expression that drive creativity and innovation. Vibrant and creative communities also offer quality cultural experiences that enable
New Zealand to take advantage of tourist opportunities such as the Rugby World Cup.

Stronger identity:

New Zealanders value their culture as important to their identity. A majority believe that cultural activities improve their quality of life (61%) and help develop a stronger sense of identity (53%). A majority also believe that Maori culture is an important part of our national identity (62%) and that the protection of our heritage is important nationally (82%).[2] A clear sense of identity defines New Zealand and helps us project ourselves on the world stage. An important foundation for identity is an understanding of New Zealand’s heritage.

Figure 1: Drivers of a thriving culture


The sector goal: A thriving culture

Overall, a thriving cultural sector provides significant artistic, economic and social benefits for New Zealanders. The long-term goal for the cultural sector is therefore:

Stimulating the drivers of a thriving culture (see Figure 1) helps increase culture’s direct and indirect contributions to New Zealand. These drivers are the foundation for the sector and Ministry outcomes.

A thriving culture reflects the collective activities of all cultural participants (such as producers, funders, communities and Maori) across New Zealand. These activities and participants are a focus for the Government’s efforts to stimulate the drivers of a thriving culture. The Government’s investment in culture and sport focuses on:

· protecting our important heritage

· supporting the production, consumption, participation and appreciation of local cultural goods, services and broadcasting content

· increasing New Zealanders’ participation and performance in sport.

In 2007/08, total funding for cultural organisations (excluding broadcasting) from local and central government was $308.5 million, with central government contributing 55% of this. Funding to cultural organisations from non-central (for instance, State-owned Enterprises) or local government sources was $74.6 million. 197 organisations received some local government support and 128 organisations received support from central government.[3]

[1]Cultural indicators for New Zealand 2009, Ministry for Culture and Heritage

[2]How important is Culture? New Zealanders’ views In 2008, survey by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage

[3]Cultural organisations: Giving and Sponsorship for the April 2007–March 2008 tax year. Report April 2010

Updated on 23rd July 2015