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Introduction from the Chief Executive

Introduction from the Chief Executive

The work of Manatū Taonga, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, is about helping New Zealanders reap the benefits of our rich arts, culture and heritage. It is about helping us maintain a sense of our own identity, while embracing the diversity in our society.

We do this through our work with our funded agencies. We do it through the advice we provide Ministers. We do it directly through the delivery of projects and services, including history publications and New Zealand’s online encylopedia, Te Ara. We maintain war graves and access to memorials. We administer legislation to protect Māori and New Zealand’s cultural heritage. And we deliver the Going Digital project to help New Zealanders switch from analogue to digital television.

But the Ministry cannot achieve its objectives by working alone. The Government invests heavily in the cultural sector and this is augmented by significant support from other sources including Lottery grants, philanthropy and earned revenue. New Zealanders value their cultural and sporting activities and it is our job to ensure the greatest impact for the investment made. In order to do this, we must collaborate with our colleagues in the wider sector.

A great example of this collaborative approach is the preparation for the First World War Centenary commemorations. This is being managed from within the Ministry but includes contribution from the New Zealand Defence Force, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Internal Affairs and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Our aim is to deliver a coherent programme that allows New Zealanders to commemorate the First World War and reflect on its impact on the development of our culture and society.

The outcomes the Ministry seeks cannot be considered in isolation. For example, one of our major policy challenges for the coming year is considering how to think about built heritage in a post Canterbury Earthquake world. We are working closely with our colleagues in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and elsewhere to chart a way forward in terms of a governmental response, but the issues are as complex as they are consequential. The choices we make now will have a profound and long-lasting effect on this aspect of our heritage and it is critical that we think about these questions in a wide frame.

While our main focus is on the delivery of cultural outcomes, it is also important that we maximise the contribution the sector makes to outcomes in other areas, including the economy, education and social development. This is seen clearly in work we are doing on Sistema Aotearoa, a programme which uses orchestral music-making as a tool to assist at-risk children.  It is also evident in our work on the review of New Zealand’s screen sector, a high performer both culturally and economically.

I am proud of the Ministry and I look forward to continuing our important work in the years ahead.


Lewis Holden

Chief Executive;
Manatū Taonga / Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Updated on 23rd July 2015