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Just how much culture do New Zealanders consume?

For immediate release
7 July 2003

Just how much culture do New Zealanders consume?

A staggering 93 percent of New Zealanders experienced at least one cultural activity during the survey period of a new report to be released tomorrow by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Statistics New Zealand.

A Measure of Culture: Cultural experiences and cultural spending in New Zealand provides a detailed statistical picture of cultural consumption in New Zealand.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Executive Martin Matthews says the report “is very timely. Cultural activities play a significant role in shaping who we are as a people. This report confirms their increasing importance in our daily lives.”

The report sets out the findings of New Zealanders’ cultural experiences and cultural spending, across a wide range of activities and items, including listening to popular music, purchasing an original artwork, watching a film on DVD, going to an opera, visiting a marae, buying a book, borrowing from a public library, visiting a museum or historic place. A Measure of Culture shows a high level of interest in New Zealand content, how much cultural experience is gained through television, radio and the Internet, and whether there are any barriers to taking part in cultural pursuits.

Highlights from the report include:

- 93 percent of New Zealanders experienced at least one cultural activity
- $30 per household each week is spent on cultural pursuits (4 percent of domestic expenditure)
- 1.3 million people experienced the most popular activity - visiting art galleries and museums
- $525 million was spent on books magazines and newspapers
- More than 50% of those who experienced each activity had a high level of interest in New Zealand content
- In Wellington many cultural activities were more popular than elsewhere in New Zealand
- Women were more likely than men to have experienced most activities
- Over 1.2 million New Zealanders bought a book in the four weeks leading up to the survey
- 1 million New Zealanders attended live performances of popular music

A Measure of Culture analyses information from the 2002 Cultural Experiences Survey and the 2000-2001 Household Economic Survey. Some activities contained in the report took place over a twelve-month period, and some took place over a four-week period.

The report will be invaluable for policy-makers, funding providers, producers and creators in the cultural sector, and is a solid foundation for further research and analysis.

A Measure of Culture is the sixth in a series of reports from the Cultural Statistics Programme operated jointly by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Statistics New Zealand.

- ENDS –

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