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About the cultural sector

About the cultural sector

  New Zealand’s distinctive culture enriches our lives

This vision recognises that our distinctive culture is a core part of what makes New Zealand a great place to live. New Zealand’s cultural sector is diverse, touching many areas of our lives, and New Zealanders place great value on these activities. It can involve people in their own communities coming together to explore family history, play sport, or participate in a local festival, as well as public and private institutions that engage New Zealanders and visitors, and showcase our heritage, our arts and our sports to New Zealanders and the world.

Māori culture makes New Zealand unique in a globalised world and is central to our sense of place, identifying us as a nation. Active support for, protection of the diversity of Māori culture, and participation in distinct Te Ao Māori activity – based on strong partnerships between Māori and the Crown – will ensure this fundamental feature of New Zealand culture flourishes.

The Government makes a significant contribution to the broad cultural sector each year. In 2013/14, it is investing almost $400 million in sport and recreation, culture and heritage, arts, and media, through Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage and Vote Sport and Recreation.  Additional government support to the cultural sector is provided through a range of other portfolios and Votes. The cultural sector contributes to achieving positive outcomes across a wide range of other government portfolios outside the sector. The contribution to educational development is particularly important, and all four sector outcomes support this.

New Zealand’s diverse and exciting cultural life is very attractive to overseas investors, performers and audiences and raises New Zealand’s profile internationally. Programmes such as Sistema Aotearoa and Te Matatini’s kapa haka events demonstrate how cultural experiences can provide social and economic benefits to families and communities.

The earthquakes in Canterbury have also focused the country’s attention on the contribution our culture, including our built heritage, makes to our sense of nationhood.  The involvement of the cultural sector in the earthquake recovery effort has demonstrated how vital participation in and access to the performing arts, museum and art collections, media, and sport are to lifting spirits and re-establishing a ‘normal’ family and community life.


How we use the word “culture

This Statement of Intent 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 Statement of Intent refers to the “cultural sector” we are referring to the full range of publicly-funded organisations and individuals, commercial entities, and private providers. “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 23rd July 2015