Sport Not Enough - Says MinisterCultural Affairs
New Zealand needs to be more than just a nation of male and female jocks, the Hon Marie Hasler the Minister of Cultural Affairs said today.
"A nation is remembered for its artistic and cultural achievement," Ms Hasler told some 40 members of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors at a meeting held at Auckland University.
"I know the importance sport has for any sense of national identity, and this is particularly true of New Zealand. While sport is absolutely necessary, on its own, it is not enough.
"Culture is the way we understand ourselves. The way we express ourselves as a people.
"Poised as we are on the brink of the new millennium, now is the time for us to ask questions of ourselves. Questions about who and what we are. We need to further our knowledge about our culture's past and how much of that culture we want to take with us into the future."
Ms Hasler said New Zealand has a unique cultural identity, but care needed to be taken to ensure our culture isn't swamped by outside influences.
"In today's shrinking world it remains increasingly important for us to nurture and protect our existing cultural heritage.
"We need to maintain a form of cultural expression where we speak with our own voices, where we see ourselves on television, where we tell our own stories and involve ourselves in our history."