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Heritage New Zealand 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 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. In 2017/18 Te Papa welcomed 1,515,195 visitors to Te Papa, continuing a run of four years in a row to exceed 1.5 million visitors per year. In 2017/18 Te Papa continued to progress renewal of long term exhibitions, necessitating closure of parts of the museum. Despite closure of some exhibition spaces their high visitation were sustained, partly due to the continuing success of Gallipoli: The scale of our war. Still a strong drawcard, especially amongst overseas visitors, it has now been experienced by well over two million visitor, and is a highlight for 50% of their visitors. Visitor numbers have also been sustained due to strong visitation from overseas visitors, particularly in the first half of the year. One in two of our visitors are currently living abroad. The top five countries of origin remain Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Germany, and France, with strong growth coming from Asia, in particular China, India and Malaysia. While visitation reduced by 4% compared to the previous year, the opening of their new national art gallery Toi Art softened the impact of the planned closure of Natural History for renewal, in addition to being a success in its own right. Delivering on its manifesto that “Art is for everyone”, more than 191,000 visitors have walked through the gallery since launch. 

In addition to strong physical visitation numbers, Te Papa are extending their reach online. Visitation across all platforms of 3.1 million in the 2017/18 year. More details are available in Te Papa's  annual report.


Updated on 7th October 2019