More Culture Please' Say NZers

  • Simon Upton
Cultural Affairs

New Zealanders want to see more about cultural activities in the media, but almost a third want less sport, a new survey shows.

The survey, commissioned by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in July and released today (Wed 22 October) by Cultural Affairs Minister, Hon Simon Upton, follows a previous survey taken in 1994, and shows that attitudes towards media coverage of culture, sport, business and
gardening have changed.

Most New Zealanders believe media coverage of cultural affairs has improved since 1994, but they still want to see more. They also say that gardening, business and especially sport get a great deal more coverage than culture - and they'd like to see that changed.

At a Beehive release of survey results Mr Upton, said that people in the survey were asked about coverage by television, newspapers, magazines and radio.

"People do want more about culture from the media. While many newspapers and magazines now have improved coverage of culture and cultural affairs, television is lagging behind. Statistics released by New Zealand On Air showed that our proportion of good, locally-made TV
programmes is very low by international standards. What is there is often buried at the times nobody else wants.

"I believe TV planners are misreading the audience and missing an opportunity. Culture and cultural activities are perceived by them as appealing to a minority only, and TV is driven by ratings and commercial realities. But this survey shows there is a growing audience that wants
to see New Zealand on television. If 96% take pride in our acting, writing, singing, film-making and painting and 84% are personally interested in cultural activities, there would appear to be room to show a great deal more of our culture and still attract viewers" said Mr Upton.

The survey shows that 54% of New Zealanders want more coverage of culture in the media. Only 9% think there is 'a lot' at present and 57% say there is 'some". This is a change from the 1994 benchmark survey when only 50% said there was 'some' media coverage, and 63% wanted more.

For sport, the figures are 89% who think there is 'a lot' of sports coverage and 10% who say 'some'. About half of those want to keep the same level of coverage and a third say they would like less.

The national phone survey was carried out in July amongst 937 people by ACNielsen-McNair. It has a maximum margin of error of 3.2%.