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Auckland - realising the cultural potential

Successful cities are often characterised by a strong identity based on unique cultural elements. As New Zealand’s largest city and a key gateway for people, goods and ideas, Auckland exemplifies many of the challenges and opportunities inherent in urban life.

View of Selwyn Muru's sculpture Waharoa located at Aotea Square.

In recent years, central government has delivered substantial capital investment to Auckland War Memorial Museum and the newly-reopened Auckland Art Gallery. Creative New Zealand and other government funding agencies also disburse substantial funding annually for arts and cultural activities in Auckland.

The Ministry has contributed to the inclusion of arts, culture and heritage elements of the draft Auckland Plan and works with Auckland Council and its subsidiary organisations. Two key cultural priorities for central government in working with Auckland Council are: enhancing Auckland’s major cultural institutions and pursuing a potential nomination for World Heritage status for the Auckland Volcanic Field. 

In July 2014 the Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Bill was passed which vested the Crown-owned portions of 14 maunga, including Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill, Maungawhau/Mt Eden, Mt Albert and North Head Historic Reserve. With the exception of North Head and Mount Smart, governance of the maunga will be taken over by a newly established board, the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority, made up of representatives from the Tāmaki Collective and Auckland Council.

The Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Deed provides collective redress for the shared interests of the Tāmaki Collective in maunga, motu and lands within Tāmaki Makaurau.

Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Redress Bill passed

Tāmaki Makaurau Collective Deed Summary 7 Jun 2012

Another Auckland-based initiative is Sistema Aotearoa. The take-up rate has been very high and early signs suggest the programme is succeeding well beyond expectations. Overall, it will be important to ensure Auckland Council and central government priorities for culture in Auckland align. This will affect work areas such as commemorations, capital and operating funding for agencies and the review of orchestral music.

Sistema Aotearoa

Toi Whītiki has been chosen as the name for Auckland’s Arts and Culture Strategic Action Plan to recognise the important role culture and the creative sector plays in bringing the city together now and in the future. Announced in December 2015, “Toi” means “to walk on, march together” and also “the arts” in general. “Whītiki” translates as – to weave the strands together.

Toi Whītiki weaves Auckland’s creative strands together

The Auckland organisation responsible for securing and staging these events, Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA), estimates this summer’s events are likely to boost the city’s economy by more than $31 million.

“Last summer, RFA’s line-up of stadium concerts and festivals boosted the local economy by more than $16.8 million with people attending from out of Auckland. The calibre of the international acts and concerts we draw to our stadiums is outstanding – this summer’s line-up will further cement Auckland’s reputation as New Zealand’s entertainment capital,” says RFA chief executive Chris Brooks.

Huge summer of concerts brings massive boost to Auckland

Earlier statistics

In July 2016, it was announced that for the first time since council amalgamation, a wide snapshot across the council family is capturing the range of arts and culture activity from its many departments and council controlled organisations. In addition to the provision of facilities, programmes and grants through our Arts, Culture and Events department, Auckland Transport for instance is working with artists and the Council's Public Art team on integrating art at transit stations. Auckland Council is continuing to implement Toi Whītiki, Arts and Culture Strategic Action Plan aspirations across the organisation.

They are currently mapping the extensive range of arts and culture delivery from the Arts, Culture and Events department initiating and delivering arts programmes and events throughout Auckland to Council Controlled Organisation contributions. Regional Facilities, Auckland Transport and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) are also investing in arts and culture. ATEED is leveraging the creative industries through events like Techweek and is promoting Māori culture through investment in the new Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival.

Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) announced in March 2016 that they had wrapped up a bumper summer concert season, boosting Auckland’s economy by $16.8m. More than 171,000 fans enjoyed a sold-out summer line-up which included Fleetwood Mac, Ed Sheeran, rock band AC/DC and the Taste of Auckland food and wine festival at Western Springs Stadium, and Our:House at Mt Smart Stadium.

Summer Concert Series Big Win for Auckland

April 2014 figures from the Auckland Council agency, Regional Facilities Auckland, highlight the significant contribution of recent major exhibitions and entertainment events to the Auckland visitor economy.

The summer line-up of Auckland-exclusive international music events generated more than 126,000 visitor nights and made a contribution to regional GDP of $14.6 million according to new research commissioned by Regional Facilities Auckland.

More than 176,000 fans, over 79,000 from outside the Auckland region, have flocked to RFA-run stadiums in recent months to see world-class concerts and festivals. The Big Day Out music festival kicked off the year’s events in January, drawing 41,000 people to Western Springs Stadium. Global rapper Eminem staged his first ever New Zealand concert at Western Springs in February to a capacity crowd of 55,000, and Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band played to 80,000 fans over two nights at Mt Smart Stadium in March.

Read more details in the following Regional Facilities Auckland's 04 April 2014 press release.

The Stones Set to Continue Auckland’s Economic Roll

2013 details are available in the following Regional Facilities Auckland's 17 April 2013 press release.

Exhibitions and Events Big Wins for Auckland Economy.

Updated on 29th March 2017