Early Maori adapted the tropically based east Polynesian culture in line with
the challenges associated with a larger and more diverse environment, eventually
developing their own distinctive culture.
The British and Irish immigrants brought aspects of their own culture to New
Zealand and also influenced Maori culture. More recently American, Australian,
Asian and other European cultures have exerted influence on New Zealand.
New Zealand music has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, rock and roll
and hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand
interpretation. Maori developed traditional chants and songs from their ancient
South-East Asian origins, and after centuries of isolation created a unique
"monotonous" and "doleful" sound.
The number of New Zealand films significantly increased during the 1970s. In
1978 the New Zealand Film Commission started assisting local film-makers and
many films attained a world audience, some receiving international
New Zealand television primarily broadcasts American and British programming,
along with a large number of Australian and local shows. The country's diverse
scenery and compact size, plus government incentives, have encouraged some
producers to film big budget movies in New Zealand.
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is government’s leading adviser on
cultural matters. The Ministry funds, monitors and supports a range of cultural
agencies and delivers a range of high-quality cultural products and
The Ministry provides advice to government on where to focus its
interventions in the cultural sector. It seeks to ensure that funding is
invested as effectively and efficiently as possible, and that government
priorities are met.
The Ministry has a strong track record of delivering high-quality
publications, managing significant heritage and commemorations, and acting as
guardian of New Zealand’s culture. The Ministry’s work prioritizes cultural
outcomes and also supports educational, economic and social outcomes, linking
with the work of a range of other government agencies.