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Chief Executive’s report = Tā te Tumuaki rīpoata

Chief Executive's Report  = te Tumuaki pota

This annual report marks a personal milestone for me as I complete my first full year as Chief Executive of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. I have valued the process of engaging with Ministry staff and members of the cultural sector, and it is with some satisfaction that I look back over the progress we have made across the range of the Ministry’s activity.

It has been a challenging year for many, responding to the constraints of a tight economic environment. I have been very impressed with the resourcefulness that has been shown throughout the sector to ensure New Zealanders continue to have access to quality cultural experiences.

It has been especially encouraging to see the Ministry and cultural sector agencies working collaboratively to make things happen. One example is the successful merging of the Ministry’s cultural ‘what’s on’ website with the online events calendar Eventfinder. We have worked closely too with the NZ2011 Festival Office and cultural organisations around the country, helping position the sector to take full advantage of the nationwide festival that will run alongside the Rugby World Cup.

Another notable achievement during the year was working alongside the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and a number of cultural sector agencies to enable the Minister to provide funding for some specific areas of need. Beyond the obvious benefits, such as much-needed maintenance on heritage sites, I was struck by the sense of a real spirit of cooperation in the sector, a willingness to work together to create smart and practical solutions.

I am hoping to build on this in the coming year. It makes sense to me to share the resources of knowledge, expertise and creativity in a sector that is rich with these things. During 2009/10 we took the first steps towards a sector-wide project, an integrated statement of intent for the Ministry and its funded agencies. I want to progress this in 2010/11 and, together, to articulate a vision for the sector and present a stronger message to New Zealanders about what arts, culture and heritage can contribute to their lives.

A more closely integrated sector will be well placed to respond to the government’s objectives and provide a good return on its investment in culture. There are many ways in which arts and culture can contribute to broader goals. I am firmly of the view, for instance, that the cultural sector has a significant part to play in lifting New Zealand’s economic performance, and I strongly endorse the Ministry’s role in realising that potential.

Ensuring key cultural infrastructure is able to operate effectively in the current environment is also an important focus, and this year we reviewed the legislation for a number of sector agencies. We also worked towards laying the foundations for the much-anticipated switchover to digital television, making sure New Zealanders will have good access to services in the new digital environment.

In the meantime, we continued rolling out our own cultural products, including Te Ara’s new theme, Economy and the City, and some important new history works. The Māori Battalion website was enthusiastically received, with more than 45,000 unique visitors, 657 registered users contributing, and some very positive feedback.

Finally, I would like to note the expertise and commitment of the Ministry’s staff, all of whom have a genuine affinity with the sector with which, and within which, they work. I take this opportunity to say thank you, and I look forward to working together to deliver the greatest possible value to the sector and the government in 2010/11.

Lewis Holden
Chief Executive
Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Updated on 23rd July 2015