Skip to Content

Culture of New Zealand

« Back to Glossary Index

**Cultural History of New Zealand**:
– Polynesian explorers arrived between 1250 and 1300, leading to the development of Māori culture.
– Māori tribes established villages and agriculture, impacted by European contact from 1800 onwards.
– The New Zealand Wars in 1845 affected Māori land and population significantly.

**Cultural Diversity in New Zealand**:
– Recent immigration has increased cultural diversity in New Zealand.
– Efforts are made to recognize and honor Māori language and traditions alongside Western culture.
– The Pasifika festival showcases non-Māori Polynesian cultures, reflecting the broader globalization of New Zealand’s culture.

**Economic Impact of Culture in New Zealand**:
– The arts and creative sector contributed $14.9 billion to New Zealand’s GDP in 2022.
– The creative sector employs 115,000 people, with 32% being self-employed.
– The cultural sector plays a significant role in New Zealand’s economy, with ongoing efforts to support and promote the industry.

**Ethnic Communities and Cultural Influences**:
– Various ethnic communities have contributed to New Zealand’s cultural landscape.
– Cultural influences like Chinese New Year celebrations and Samoan links in South Auckland are prominent.
– Urban Pasifika music style and the Pacific Music Awards reflect the diverse cultural influences in New Zealand.

**Cultural Festivals and Music in New Zealand**:
– Festivals like Polyfest and Pasifika celebrate cultural heritage in New Zealand.
– Auckland hosts multiple Pacific Island festivals and showcases secondary school cultural groups.
– Urban Pasifika music style is a significant strand in New Zealand music culture, recognized through events like the Pacific Music Awards.

The culture of New Zealand is a synthesis of indigenous Māori, colonial British, and other cultural influences. The country's earliest inhabitants brought with them customs and language from Polynesia, and during the centuries of isolation, developed their own Māori and Moriori cultures. British colonists in the 19th century brought Western culture and had a dramatic effect on the indigenous inhabitants, spreading Western religious traditions and the English language. Over time, a distinct Pākehā or New Zealand European culture emerged.

More recent immigration from the Pacific, East Asia, and South Asia has added to the cultural diversity in New Zealand. The dominant cultural influence in New Zealand remains Western, with a strong focus on democracy and egalitarianism. Māori culture continues to be an essential part of the national identity, with ongoing efforts to recognise and honour the Māori language and Māori traditions.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage showed 'that the arts and creative sector contributed $14.9 billion to New Zealand's GDP for the year ending March 2022', this is 4.2% of the total economy and is the highest since 2000 when recording began. As of March 2022, 115,000 people were primarily employed in the creative sector (32% self-employed).

« Back to Glossary Index