Periodic Report New Zealand

Nueva Zelandia
Executive summary

New Zealand is a democracy with a parliamentary government. Of its total population of 4.4 million, more than 85 per cent live in urban areas. The majority (67 percent) of New Zealanders are of European descent. Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous people, make up 16 percent of the population, those identifying as Asian – 9 percent and people of Pacific Island descent make up 6 percent.  

In establishing support for the cultural sector, New Zealand has favoured the "arm’s length" model, which means there is no one single piece of legislation relating to cultural policy. According to this model, the government owns and funds cultural agencies and appoints their governing boards, which are required to perform functions prescribed by a Parliamentary statute. Each agency acts autonomously in determining and implementing policy. At the same time such activity must have regard to central government policies.  

The model allows the sector to develop without undue government interference, and therefore serves to protect freedom of expression. The government also funds organisations that it does not own such as the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Film Archive and Te Matatini (the Aotearoa Traditional Māori Performing Arts Society).

A ministerial portfolio for the cultural sector was first created in 1975. The current Ministry for Culture and Heritage provides advice to the New Zealand government on culture and heritage matters. It assists government in its provision and management of cultural resources for the benefit of all New Zealanders, and undertakes a number of activities that support and promote the history and heritage of our country.

The Ministry is responsible for:

  • the provision of policy advice on arts, culture, heritage and broadcasting issues;
  • the management and disbursement of payments to a number of arts, heritage, broadcasting and sports sector organisations;
  • the research, writing and publication of New Zealand history;
  •  the management of national monuments, war and historic graves and the administration of legislation relating to the symbols and emblems of New Zealand sovereignty;
  • the development, production and maintenance of a number of websites focusing on New Zealand culture.

The 2011/12 Ministry Departmental appropriations are $288.299 million for Vote Arts, Culture and Heritage (includes broadcasting) and $79.199 million for Vote Sport and Recreation.

Other agencies with an interest in New Zealand culture are Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development), which is the Crown’s principal adviser on Crown-Māori relationships and the Ministry for Pacific Island Affairs, which is Government’s adviser on policies and interventions to promote the social, economic and cultural development of Pacific peoples in New Zealand.

Te Puni Kōkiri guides Māori public policy by advising the New Zealand Government on policy affecting Māori wellbeing and development. One of its main roles is the protection and promotion of Māori rights, interests and development opportunities in cultural, natural and other resources.