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Cultural sector overviews

New Zealand’s cultural sector encompasses a broad range of cultural and creative industries and activities: film, music, broadcasting, design and digital technologies, our built heritage, libraries, literature, museums and galleries, performing and visual arts.

Economy and Employment

The sector is an engine of growth for the New Zealand economy. In recent years, it has either matched or outpaced other sectors of the economy in terms of income, employment and value added.

For more details, visit Creative New Zealand's arts advocacy page which lists relevant research about the value of the arts.

Architecture of the Sector

The Ministry is the government’s leading advisor on media, cultural and heritage matters. We fund, monitor and support a diverse portfolio of 15 agencies, including Crown entities, non-government organisations (NGOs) and trusts.

Government makes a significant contribution to the broad cultural  sector each year. Support for the cultural sector is also provided through other public sources, most notably education and local government. Further funding is provided by the Lottery Grants Board each year to four key cultural sector agencies in their capacity as Statutory Bodies. 

The Ministry has a leadership role and heads an informal sector cluster of funded agencies, based on voluntary collaboration. It has been working with cultural sector agencies to develop more of a whole-of-sector approach. In addition to engaging on specific policy, research, partnerships and development areas, and aligning some funding strategies, agencies have more recently been collaborating on a range of initiatives to improve value for money and develop new sources of funding outside government.

The sector is home to tens of thousands of organisations which fit broadly into categories of heritage, culture and media. 

For a general overview of the cultural sector, read our Cultural policy in New Zealand document.


Updated on 9th August 2023