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Strategic direction

Government priorities

Responsibly managing the Government’s finances

Building a more competitive and productive economy

Delivering better public services

Rebuilding Christchurch

The cultural sector supports the Government’s four priorities above in many ways, including the economic contribution of the cultural sector which makes up more than 4% of the economy, the benefits of cultural activity for communities suffering the results of natural disaster, with a focus on the Cultural Strategy for Christchurch, greater sector collaboration including many joint initiatives and projects to support the shared cultural sector strategy, all within static or reducing baselines.

Desired future state 

New Zealand’s cultural sector is recognised as intrinsic to our national identity, fundamental to our social wellbeing and is a growing part of our economy. A successful cultural sector continues to be critical for a successful New Zealand.

Government wants an even better future for the cultural sector.  A thriving cultural sector will have the following characteristics:

  • People here and abroad are increasingly demanding and accessing New Zealand stories told by New Zealanders.
  • New Zealand culture is created by us and defines us. While culture is expressed in many ways, it captures the New Zealand character in a distinctive way that others recognise as embodying our  distinctive values, traditions and beliefs, demonstrating what it is that makes being a New Zealander in the 21st century unique.
  • There is recognition that a strong, creative and inclusive culture strengthens the nation and is an essential component to being in charge of our own future. Culture is an enabler of creativity, innovation, productivity and wellbeing.
  • Culture and media will continue to play an increasingly important role in our lives and work and are a growing part of the economy. New Zealand has built on its reputation as a sophisticated, innovative, creative and culturally diverse nation producing world-class artists and content. Creative industries work across global markets, creating content, production and post-production services based on New Zealand’s established reputation.
  • We use an increased range of qualitative and quantitative measures, including new research, to measure the public value of cultural investment. We track participation in the arts, culture, heritage and sports and monitor the economic and social value of the arts, sport, creative industries and cultural heritage.

Achieving the desired future state

A vibrant cultural and media sector demands stable, durable policy settings and the right level of investment to support thriving cultural activity. The Ministry is placing greater emphasis on understanding and driving better outcomes from the sector. The Ministry is a policy agency with legislative, funding and monitoring responsibilities throughout a sector that is extraordinarily diverse. As such, it must work to advise government on a balance of investment across the sector that is accepted by New Zealanders and to ensure that investment is appropriately monitored to deliver better outcomes.

Cultural sector priorities

Four enduring outcomes bind our sector and guide our long term investments.


Cultural activity flourishes in New Zealand


Our heritage can be enjoyed by future generations


Engagement in cultural and sporting activities is increasing


Artists, athletes and organisations achieve excellence

The Cultural Sector Strategic Framework 2014-2018 sets out five medium-term priorities that our environmental analysis and consultation show we must attend to in order to maximise the difference for New Zealanders in our enduring sector outcomes.

Fostering inclusive New Zealand identity

New Zealand’s demographic profile is changing in terms of age, ethnicity and location. There is a new sense emerging of what it is to be a New Zealander, how we see ourselves and how we present to others as an attractive place to live, work and visit. The Ministry is working with other departments and cultural agencies to support examination and expression of what it means to be a New Zealander, to foster an inclusive New Zealand and a positive identity internationally.

Supporting Māori cultural aspirations

Māori culture and heritage is a defining feature of New Zealand identity in the world. The preservation and expression of Māori language, arts, culture and heritage needs to be well supported. Cultural agencies are committed to working in partnership with iwi/Māori to advance their long term cultural aspirations for the benefit of Māori and all New Zealanders. In the post-settlement environment iwi are better positioned to advance their own cultural aspirations and will demand a high level of responsiveness from government and its agencies.

Front-footing transformative technology

New Zealanders want access to the best of what the world has to offer and high quality New Zealand content which shines through in a crowded, borderless global environment. Changing technology continues to impact on traditional business models and to provide new opportunities for all cultural agencies. Cultural goods and services are increasingly able to be produced, distributed and accessed at low cost to almost everyone. Through the development of digital skills, online rights policies, trans-media, new mobile applications and other innovative business solutions, New Zealand creative talent and organisations are positioning themselves to control and manage their endeavours to reach a wider audience. The Ministry is working to support an environment where skills, infrastructure and intellectual property rights support innovation and creation.

Improving cultural asset sustainability

New Zealand’s cultural activity is sustained by an infrastructure of tangible and intangible cultural assets built over time. With static or declining baselines for public funding, the Ministry, cultural agencies, iwi and local government are working together to plan and prioritise investment and to increase revenue from non-government sources. Success will require the development and maintenance of new partnerships and identification of smarter ways of operating.

Measuring and maximising public value

Cultural expression contributes to a vibrant and healthy democratic society. The cultural agencies are working together to better understand and increase the public value of our cultural goods and services, including their economic and social

Updated on 27th November 2015