Poll shows New Zealanders love culture

  • Judith Tizard
Arts, Culture and Heritage

“Clearly New Zealanders enjoy our culture and we enjoy it in a huge variety of ways,” Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Judith Tizard said today.

Judith Tizard was commenting on the recent release of a survey showing that 93% of adult New Zealanders had in the last year engaged in at least one cultural activity.

“The findings from the survey confirm what the Labour-led government already knows, that the arts are not a hobby for those who can afford the time and money,” said Judith Tizard. “Cultural experiences are a central part of New Zealanders’ lives, which means the Labour-led government’s investment in arts, culture and heritage is a smart investment.”

Commissioned by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and conducted by Statistics New Zealand in the first quarter of 2002, the survey covers a range of cultural activities including buying books, visiting libraries, art galleries and museums, and attending live theatre and music performances.

The first release of data shows that very large numbers of people were involved in the most popular cultural activities. Over 1.3 million people visited an art gallery or museum in the last year. Just over 1 million attended a live popular music performance.

“New Zealanders’ love of books is also evident,” said Judith Tizard. “Around 43% of the adult population had bought a book in the four weeks prior to the survey. In addition, more than a million people had visited a public library in the last 4 weeks.

“The survey reveals that young people are especially high consumers of culture, with a particular interest in going to the movies and popular music performances. They are also more likely than people of any other age to access popular music and film clips on the Internet.”

Judith Tizard said that it was encouraging that the Internet had become an important means of accessing certain cultural activities. “The Internet helps to make cultural experiences more broadly available to New Zealanders.”

In a 12 month period, 555,000 people listened to popular music on the web, 387,000 watched a video clip, and 404,000 visited a library website.

Almost 300,000 people used the Internet to access archival material, significantly more than personally visited an archive. Nearly 60% of the archive website users were aged 35 years and over.

“These findings support the government’s investment in web-based cultural experiences, such as the forthcoming Encyclopedia of New Zealand, which is being produced by the History Group of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. It will be progressively posted on a free website before being printed in alphabetical form in ten years’ time.

“The arts are having a positive impact on New Zealand’s economic, social and cultural life. The findings from the survey provide high quality information that will help to guide government policies for the cultural sector,” Judith Tizard said. “The information will also be of value to organisations and researchers in the wider cultural sector.”

The survey was conducted as a supplement to the Household Labour Force Survey. 13,475 New Zealanders aged of 15 years and over, living in private households, were interviewed.

More information is available on the Statistics NZ website:

More information about the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is available on the website: www.mch.govt.nz