Auckland UNESCO City of Music

Auckland is officially a City of Music, joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network last year when an applicaton for this status was granted.


Auckland UNESCO City of Music
Tāmaki Makaurau UNESCO Pā Puoro

Auckland is officially a City of Music, joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network last year when an applicaton for this status was granted. The cultural arm of the United Nations, UNESCO, launched the Creative Cities Network in 2004 to promote social, economic and cultural development among cities who have identified creativity as a strategic factor and enabler for sustainable urban development. Auckland now joins the 116 members from 54 countries around the world covering seven creative fields.

Recorded Music NZ, instrumental in driving the application, brought together key music industry stakeholders including APRA, NZ Music Commission and NZ On Air.  An Auckland Music Strategy Te Rautaki Puoro o Tāmaki Makaurau 2018 — 2021 was then developed through collaboration between Auckland Council, its council-controlled organisations (CCOs) and Auckland’s music sector.  Launched this month, the strategy outlines the benefits the title will bring to Auckland residents, New Zealanders and international visitors. It also outlines a plan for the way Auckland will develop as a City of Music, providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute to a Auckland’s success as a music city.

By joining the network, Auckland is acknowleging its long and rich musical history and its commitement to sharing the best practice, developing parterships that promote creativeity, and strengthening participation in cultural life.

Anthony Healey at APRA says, “Auckland is fortunate to enjoy one of the most diverse and unique music scenes in the world. We look forward to bringing together all aspects of the music community, leveraging their special skill sets and collective experience to showcase our musical strength internationally. We want Auckland to be a place where music can thrive for the benefit of everyone who lives here.”

Auckland is one of the most diverse cities in the world: its 1.5 million residents span more than 220 ethnic groups, and four in 10 Aucklanders are born overseas. It is also home to a large Pacific population and 60 percent of indigenous Maori live in Auckland and surrounding regions. With music and language intrinsically linked in Maori and Pacific culuture, these communities add a richness and unique sound to the city.  Research reveals seven in 10 Aucklanders have attended a music event in the last three years, making the most of a plethora of concerts and festivals held in the city. Songwriter Moana Maniapoto, Pacific musician Opetaia Foa’i and Gin Wigmore, are among the many who have propelled Auckland music onto the world stage.

We’re proud of what we’ve achieved thus far and the direction we’re heading in, says Mark Roach of Recorded Music New Zealand, “A music city is a place with a vibrant music ecosystem that delivers economic cultural and social benefits. Music connects people and communities; it bridges cultural and linguistic divides and it provides an avenue for identity and expression. Auckland is blessed with music!  Auckland UNESCO City of Music designation brings exciting potential to the sector, its city and its community.

The designation as a UNESCO Creative City and the launch of the Auckland Music Strategy represents the starting point of a long-term journey to move the city along a more sustainable development path through culture and creativity.

We invite you to visit to download and read Auckland Music Strategy Te Rautaki Puoro o Tāmaki Makaurau 2018 — 2021, and we encourage you to connect with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, where we’ll keep you updated on our progress, with further announcements to come and opportunities to get involved


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Written by

Renee Tanner

25 Nov 2018