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Introduction, acknowledgement and appendices

Manatū Taonga - the Ministry for Culture and Heritage has a very strong commitment to enhancing governance by the boards of the agencies funded through the Ministry. The nature of the boards that we are involved with ranges from Crown Agents through Autonomous Crown Entities and Independent Crown Entities to other organisations. There are many differences but from a governance perspective these agencies also have a lot in common.

The government has devolved responsibility for its cultural support to a variety of Crown entities and other organisations. This ‘arm’s length’ relationship is an important feature of our system. It means, though, that while Ministers remain accountable for the public resources, they depend on the funded agencies ensuring that they deliver value for money. A key to this arrangement working well is that boards provide effective governance. This Governance e-Manual is intended to promote this.

This electronically based and regularly updated e-manual is designed to highlight key principles and to illustrate how these apply to our family of boards. Each topic is augmented by appropriate website links and appendices.

This e-manual has been written with a focus on the requirements of board members of our Ministry-funded boards. We welcome an interchange of ideas and views with board members. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions in respect to this e-manual please contact our Governance team at: [email protected].

All Ministers and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage appreciate the significant contribution that all board members make to cultural organisations and the nation. Your efforts are appreciated and are important. We hope that this e-manual assists you in undertaking this challenging but rewarding role.


This Governance e-Manual has been written for the MCH family of boards by the Governance team of the Agency Group at MCH to encourage New Zealand best practice governance particularly as applied to Crown entities and Crown-connected boards.

This manual has been resourced from our own governance experience on, and working with, boards, feedback from the many chairs, members and CEOs we have dealt with, input from our colleagues and other relevant material.

We especially acknowledge the excellent sources of good practice material in two manuals published by members of the MCH family of boards: Nine Steps to Effective Governance: building high performing organisations (SPARC - now Sport NZ) and Getting on Board: a governance resource guide for arts organisations (Creative New Zealand).  Both these publications were edited by Graeme Nahkies of Boardworks International.

The Appendices

Each topic has its own appendix with links to websites that have relevance to the topic. We cannot and do not endorse any of the material on the websites and, indeed, it will change from time to time. The links simply are provided as a resource for members who wish to explore a topic more fully.

Access to linked documents may seem to be difficult if they are in PDF form. If the document doesn’t open when you have pressed CTRL and clicked, it may be sitting on the baseline of your computer. Simply click on the highlighted block and the document will come up.

Updated on 7th October 2019