News | 1 June 2018
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Wellington ranked New Zealand’s most creative city

Wellington, fresh from retaining its crown as the world’s most liveable city, has now also defended its title as New Zealand’s most creative city for the second year in a row, according to the latest Infometrics Creativity Index.

The index puts Wellington ahead of Auckland, Queenstown and Dunedin, which also rank highly on the list. Six of the top 10 creative areas are in the Wellington region: Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt, Kāpiti Coast, South Wairarapa and Carterton.

The index looks at the proportion of a city’s workforce that is involved in creative and artistic occupations and industries, and points to a link between the creative arts and economic development, particularly in technology.

The index shows that not only is Wellington by far the most creative city, but its economy is also by far the most knowledge intensive. 

With more than 10,000 people employed in Wellington’s creative sector, it also makes a substantial and growing contribution to Wellington City’s economy. 

Earlier this year, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester announced a $127 million injection into the city’s arts and creative sector.

“The city is making a significant investment in the creative sector over the next 10 years, and the money is not just window dressing, it’s also fuel for new ideas that will make our city stand out,” the Mayor says.

“Our creative sector underpins so much of what happens in the city. It runs the whole gamut from the performing and visual arts through to our tech, food, education and film sectors. People choose to live and work in Wellington because they want to be amongst other creative people.”

Associate Arts Portfolio Leader Councillor Nicola Young says Orchestra Wellington, the Jazz Festival and Wellington’s respected dealer galleries are part of what makes the city’s culture ‘world class.’

LitCrawl co-director Claire Mabey, who is also the Programme Manager for the Auckland Writers Festival, says what makes Wellington special is the high concentration of talent and entrepreneurial artists. 

“People who live here understand that the arts is to Wellington like a heart is to a human body: the city couldn't thrive and remain authentic without the population of people who are committed to creative work.”

Wellington On A Plate director Sarah Meikle says Wellington is a creative hotbed of hospitality talent, which is reflected in the city’s food.

“WOAP was created to act as a platform for culinary innovation and to give our restaurateurs and event organisers an opportunity to tell the Wellington food story.”

Executive Director of the New Zealand Festival and Wellington Jazz Festival Meg Williams says a healthy and diverse arts scene is essential to a creative city

“Because experiencing and participating in arts helps people strengthen their own creativity – which we know will be an essential skill for the future.”  

The city’s focus on education and technology has played a part in keeping the creative sector alive and relevant in the modern age.

“Startup accelerators and incubators such as the WREDA subsidiary Creative HQ, Project R and Te Papa’s Mahuki are worth their weight in gold in terms of fostering creativity in business,” says WREDA Chief Executive Lance Walker.

“Creative Arts education is another area where Wellington institutions such as Victoria University’s Miramar Creative Centre, the Te Auaha NZ School of Creativity which brings together the creative courses of Whitireia and WelTec, and Massey University’s College of Creative Arts, are leading the world.

“While companies such as Xero and Trade Me continue to be innovators and talent attractors for the city, underpinning Wellington’s creativity story is the Weta Group of companies whose influence in the capital and globally is vast.”

According to Infometrics, at the beginning of the millennium the creative sector contributed slightly more than 5 percent of the city’s GDP, which grew to 6.5 percent by 2016.

Infometrics Creativity Index

  • Wellington – 6.4 percent
  • Auckland – 4.7 percent
  • Queenstown Lakes – 4.5 percent
  • Kapiti Coast – 4.5 per cent
  • Dunedin City – 3.9 percent
  • Porirua – 3.6 percent
  • Lower Hutt – 3.6 percent
  • Christchurch – 3.4 percent
  • South Wairarapa – 3.4 percent
  • Carterton – 3.3 percent