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Key roles & responsibilities

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage leads government work in the arts, heritage, broadcasting and sports sectors.  We provide advice on legislation, policy, and sector development to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications & Digital Media and the Minister for Sport and Recreation.

Arts, culture, heritage, media and sports are part of our everyday lives

They express who we are individually and collectively. Engagement with our heritage tells us where we’ve come from and informs where we are going. Cultural expression is central to a vibrant, healthy society. Cultural expression also reflects and reinforces what it means to be a New Zealander, helping to build connection and cohesion. 

We connect people from all walks of life to our culture and heritage and bring our past to life in many ways.

The Ministry’s websites include our comprehensive encyclopedia Te Ara and NZHistory.nz.  Grants of over $10.827 million from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund have gone to support cultural institutions throughout the country and the Heritage EQUIP fund is supporting heritage building owners to earthquake strengthen them. Further afield the Cultural Diplomacy International Programme, backing New Zealand’s reputation and identity internationally. The Ministry works with national cultural agencies such as NZ On Air, Creative New Zealand, the New Zealand Film Commission, and Te Papa Tongarewa. We administer their funding, monitor their activities and support appointees to their boards. The Ministry administers key cultural and heritage legislation, including the Flags, Emblems and Names Protection Act 1981 (to protect objects and symbols of national identity) and the Protected Objects Act 1975 (to protect taonga tūturu).

Critical to our future strategy is our relationship with the Treaty partner

This includes how we engage with Māori, as well as how we connect New Zealanders with Māori culture. We have Treaty settlement protocols and relationship arrangements with more than 50 iwi, hapū and whānau group. We’ve also had input into the development of the Māori language strategy and given advice on Māori heritage sites,taonga tuturū, Māori arts and performance and commemorations for Waitangi Day. The successful biennial Te Matatini festival has tremendous economic and social benefits which sit alongside its cultural aspirations. Equally significant in our distinctive history and heritage is the Crown-Māori relationship. Reflecting this, the Ministry has initiated a major project charting the history of the Treaty Settlement process and has partnered with the Ministry of Justice to undertake this important work.


Updated on 5th December 2019