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Heritage New Zealand (formerly the New Zealand Historic Places Trust) is the lead agency for heritage issues, identifying and protecting sites of historic heritage value.

Heritage includes archaeological and historic sites such as battle-sites, shipwrecks, whaling stations and goldmines, as well as a large portfolio of heritage buildings and properties.

Over 227,000 people visited properties cared for by Heritage New Zealand during the 2016/17 financial year. A high level of satisfaction was reported by 97% of visitors surveyed, maintaining the level reached in the previous year. A Board initiative to increase public support, appreciation, and awareness for their heritage was successfully implemented with free entry to 15 staffed properties nationwide on Waitangi Day.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision's (formerly the New Zealand Film Archive) holds a diverse collection of more than 750,000 items, dating back to 1895 and spanning Aotearoa’s sound and moving image history.  The collection encompasses items made during the earliest years of cinema, audio recording and television, alongside contemporary film, TV, advertisements, music videos, computer games, and radio productions. They also archive documentation and props with a connection to film, TV and radio making in New Zealand.

There are between 500 – 600 museums and galleries in New Zealand which care for more than 40 million items relating to our history and national heritage.  Generating in excess of 1000 public exhibitions and publications, and attracting over 8 million visits each year, museums and galleries are currently ranked as the top attraction for New Zealand’s overseas visitors.

Many museums and galleries receive partial funding from local government.  The Ministry also provides some contestable funding each year under the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund.

Te Papa is one of the most visited museums and galleries in Australasia. The 2016/17 year has been Te Papa’s third most successful ever: only their opening year and the 2015/16 year have attracted more visitors. In total, 1,578,292 people came through their doors, continuing a run of three years in a row to top 1.5 million visitors per year.  This recent success is in part attributable to the popularity of the Gallipoli exhibition. By 30 June 2017, nearly 1.5 million people had experienced Gallipoli: The scale of our war.  Te Papa maintains appeal to a broad cross-section of people. The age profile of domestic visitors reflects the New Zealand population overall. More than one-third of domestic visitors (36%) are aged under 35, confirming a growing relevance amongst young New Zealanders.

In addition to strong physical visitation numbers, Te Papa are extending their reach online. This year, their websites attracted just short of three million visits. This is only marginally less than the 2015/16 year and well ahead of their target of 2.8 million visitors.

Updated on 12th January 2018