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Cultural well-being

The Ministry defines cultural well-being as:

The vitality that communities and individuals enjoy through:

  • participation in recreation, creative and cultural activities;
  • and the freedom to retain, interpret and express their arts, history, heritage and traditions.

This definition is a starting point which your council may wish to use to form its own understanding of what cultural well-being is and what emphasis it might give to cultural well-being. More guidance on what the Ministry considers cultural well-being to be is available by reading Cultural well-being - what is it?, or Definitions and contexts of cultural well-being (pdf version).

We take a broad approach to "cultural well-being". This view encompasses many of the activities which local authorities already engage in – including the provision of libraries, museums, parks, venues and recreational facilities, support for the arts, celebration of events, promotion of language, heritage protection, the provision of main streeting programmes and cycle-ways etc.

The four well-beings (social, economic, environmental and cultural) were taken out of the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill which passed in November 2012.

In May 2019, the Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill passed its third and final reading in Parliament, effectively reinstating the four aspects of community well-being into the Local Government Act 2002.

Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill (Parliament)

Promoting well-being in local communities (The Beehive website)

Related documents

Cultural well-being - what is it? (pdf version)

Cultural well-being from a regional council perspective (pdf version)

Definitions and contexts of cultural wellbeing - Cultural well-being and Local Government - report 1 (pdf version)

Resources for developing cultural strategies - Cultural well-being and Local Government - report 2 (pdf version)

International resources


Updated on 22nd October 2019