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Cultural website to be launched next month

Media release

28 August 2006

Cultural website to be launched to the public next month

A new website to promote New Zealand culture in all its diversity both to New Zealanders and to overseas audiences will be launched next month by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

The Ministry Chief Executive, Martin Matthews, said the site would bring together in a single place information on New Zealand’s cultural offering, including performance art, literature, screen and visual arts, festivals, community activities, heritage events and attractions, sports and recreation.

The site was first proposed in 2004 as a response to both tourism industry research and the Ministry’s own research showing the need for better information about cultural events and activities in New Zealand.

It will be free to users and to contributors and will incorporate a comprehensive events calendar and pathways to online booking.

“It was always intended that the site would have these features and has been a matter of public record since the project was first announced in May last year. There has been no change to the project’s scope since its inception,” Mr Matthews said.

He was responding to a claim today from Michael Turner, the Chief Executive of Eventfinder, a private sector cultural events guide, that the Ministry had delayed the site launch date to introduce new and more sophisticated services pioneered by Eventfinder.

“Initial plans were to launch in July but the site design and build has taken a little longer than expected. That said, I can report that we are still well within budget,” Mr Matthews said.

He also strongly denied suggestions from Mr Turner that the Ministry was putting pressure on other government agencies to use the Ministry site to the exclusion of other sites, saying there was no basis for this whatsoever.

Mr Matthews said promotion of New Zealand culture was core business for the Ministry and that many other countries had similar, publicly funded sites. Examples were Britain, Australia, Canada, France, Greece and Scotland.

ENDS

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