Statements of Service ​Performance

Cultural wellbeing
Oranga ahurea

200,000 stories and counting…

Though Wellington is a relatively young city, it is filled with stories – from its history, from the many people and cultures who have settled here, and from Wellingtonians’ immense creativity.

For all Wellingtonians, those stories contribute to our sense of identity and belonging – our whakapapa, providing a basis for individual expression and community strength. They tell us what we all have in common, and what makes us unique – our distinct languages, art forms and histories, each of which adds life to the city.

They give us a sense of continuity, reminding us where we have come from, and a sense of confidence as we look to the future.

As individuals, communities, and as a city, we seek to keep those stories alive. We do this in many ways – through performance and festivals, through artworks, through the city’s heritage, and through our public conversations.

Wellington is renowned for its creativity and expression, as well as pride in who we are. But we can do more.

Cities are becoming increasingly diverse

People have higher expectations of places in an increasingly globalised world. They have greater awareness and expectations of what cities have to offer and what makes places distinctive. People are making more deliberate choices about where to live and where to visit.

But Wellington has an advantage

Wellington has a head start. Wellingtonians are already open, friendly and welcoming. We embrace and celebrate diversity. We are a compact, cosmopolitan city that is full of arts and events – there is always something to do. This is widely recognised:

We’re supporting Wellington’s diverse arts and culture

While we are in a good position, other cities are investing heavily in their events. We need to make sure that we secure our position. There are opportunities to refresh our offerings and consider new attractions to draw in more tourists and get them to stay longer.

This year we:


Our cultural wellbeing activities contribute to us being:

People centred: They shape Wellington’s sense of place and identity. They celebrate creativity and ideas and increase our understanding of culture and history. By enabling Wellington’s creative communities to thrive, they promote inclusive, tolerant and strong communities.

Connected: They provide ideas and places where people can connect, share and explore what is new and different. They connect the present with the past and future. Events and collaborations connect us with people, places and ideas here and abroad.

A dynamic central city: They enhance Wellington’s vibrancy as a diverse city where people want to live, work and play.


Arts and cultural activities
Ngā mahi toi me ngā ngohe ahure

Supporting arts activity adds vibrancy to the city as well as promoting inclusive and strong communities.


What we do

Our arts activities ensure Wellington builds on its reputation as New Zealand’s arts and culture capital by continuing to be home to top-class museums and art galleries, orchestras, dance and theatre companies. A strong arts and culture sector contributes to a diverse economy, a creative identity and connected communities, which is why we live here. Our activities include:

  • galleries and museums
  • visitor attractions (Te Papa and Carter Observatory)
  • arts and cultural festivals
  • cultural grants
  • access and support for community arts
  • arts partnerships
  • regional amenities.

What we achieved

We purchased artworks and supported art projects. We supported many public arts projects including light box exhibitions in Cobblestone Park and Couretnay Place. We also completed several significant mural projects, some of which were in partnership with schools or artist-led. More than 8,000 young people participated in the 26th Artsplash Children’s Arts Festival. We also supported 22 projects through the Arts and Culture Fund. We purchased 14 artworks for the City Art Collection and we also undertook conservation work on the collection.

The Diwali Festival of Lights received record audience numbers and was welcomed to TSB Arena with an Indian flash mob performance. The programme included local and international performers. This year’s festival received recognition as a cultural festival of national significance, featuring in the TV3 documentary The Festival.

Summer City was extremely popular, with over 90 events held. Highlights included Gardens Magic, the new Kids Magic in the Gardens, Films by Starlight, Island Bay Festival, Bowl-a-rama Skate Festival, Chinese New Year Festival, NZCT Dragon Boat Festival, the Newtown Festival, the Great Scavenger Hunt, Culture Kicks, the Fringe Festival, and Out in the Square.

Our continuing support ensured the success of other events. The 19th annual Sky Show attracted over 100,000 people to watch New Zealand’s largest display. We delivered the ever popular Santa Parade where 60,000 people lined the streets of Wellington. Many continued on to Santa’s After Party in Frank Kitts Park and the early evening Carols by Candlelight show. We had a renewed focus on cultural festivals including the Pasifika Festival and Waitangi Day celebrations. Both these significant cultural events in the calendar received tremendous support by our event partners and the wider community.

We supported the Wellington Asia Residency Exchange. The exchange is a partnership with the Asia NZ Foundation. This year, renowned Chinese artist Li Xiaofei exhibited at Toi Pōneke and Wellington-based artist John Lake went to Beijing.

We supported regional projects through the Wellington Regional Amenities Fund. This year, $880,000 was granted to 11 projects, including work at BATS and Circa theatres as well as the Capital E Arts Festival for Children.

What it cost

4.1.1  City Galleries and Museums
Expenditure 8,299 8,317 18 8,339
Revenue - - - -
Net Expenditure 8,299 8,317 18 8,339
4.1.2  Visitor attractions (Te Papa/Carter Observatory)
Expenditure 3,021 3,025 4 3,023
Revenue - - - -
Net Expenditure 3,021 3,025 4 3,023
4.1.3  Arts and cultural festivals
Expenditure 2,131 2,112 (19) 2,488
Revenue (263) (410) (147) (310)
Net Expenditure 1,868 1,702 (166) 2,178
4.1.4  Cultural grants
Expenditure 1,019 1,019 - 853
Revenue - - - -
Net Expenditure 1,019 1,019 - 853
4.1.5  Access and support for community arts
Expenditure 525 509 (16) 662
Revenue (92) (68) 24 (79)
Net Expenditure 433 441 8 583
4.1.6  Arts partnerships
Expenditure 1,655 1,770 115 1,930
Revenue (509) (535) (26) (694)
Net Expenditure 1,146 1,235 89 1,236
4.1.7  Regional Amenities Fund
Expenditure 661 609 (52) 643
Revenue (69) - 69 (32)
Net Expenditure 592 609 17 611
4.1.5  Access and support for community arts1
Expenditure - 26 26 10
Unspent portion
of budget to be
​carried forward
n/a -   n/a
  1. No arts installation projects in 2013/14 requiring capital funding.

How we performed

The number of people attending festivals and events was high and their contribution to the city’s economy is increasing. This year, the New Zealand Festival contributed $70 million to the economy and 32% of the 115,000 tickets were sold to people from outside the region.

We measure the effectiveness of our arts and culture support activities

Satisfaction with Wellington City Council supported arts and cultural festivals

Customer satisfaction (%) with the New Zealand Festival

Result: 87%. (target: 80%; 2011/12: 87%).

Source: New Zealand Festival

Total tickets sold to the New Zealand Festival and the proportion sold to customers outside the region

Result: 115,000 tickets sold (target: 130,000; 2012: 110,000). 32% of tickets were sold outside the region (target: 30%; 2012: 30%)

Source: New Zealand Festival

Economic contribution ($) the New Zealand Festival makes to the city’s economy (new spend)

Result: $70 million. (target: $40 million; 2012: $56 million).

Source: New Zealand Festival

User satisfaction (%) with Toi Pōneke facilities and services

Result: 83% of users were satisfied with Toi Pōneke facilities and services (target: 90%; 2012/13: 82%; 2011/12: 86%).

Source: Toi Pōneke Customer Satisfaction Survey2

Cultural grants % of applicants who are satisfied with support and advice received from the Council

82% of applicants were satisfied with the support and advice received from the Council (target: 95; 2012/13: 73%).

Source: WCC Community Networks

The proportion of grant funds successfully allocated (through milestones being met)

Result: 100% (target: 95%; 2012/13: 97%).

Source: WCC Community Networks

Proportion of outcomes delivered (previous projects – weighted by $ value)

Result: 100% (target: 90%; 2012/13: 100%).

Source: WCC Community Networks

We understand the reach of our arts and culture support activities

Te Papa visitors (by overseas visitors [OV] and NZ visitors from outside the region [NZOR])

Total visits to museums and galleries (including Carter Observatory)

Result: 601,743 (target: 605,000; 2012/13: 644,411).

Source: Wellington Museums Trust

Arts and cultural festivals estimated attendance

Venues subsidy – total number of performers and attendees at supported events

Result: 13,878 performers and 83,675 attendees. (target: increase from 2012/13; 2012/13: 16,270 performers and 84,342 attendees).3

Source: WCC City Events

Cultural grants % first-time applicants who were successful

Result: 63% (target: 50%; 2012/13: 44%).

Source: WCC Community Networks

Number of artists involved in supported art projects delivered through the Public Art Fund

Result: 45 artists (no target; 2012/13: 39 artists).

Source: WCC City Arts

2​This is an online survey of Toi Pōneke residents, room users and gallery artists. This year, we received 99 responses.
32012/13 results have been updated from the figures included in the 2012/13 Annual Report.