Auckland is the beating heart of New Zealand's music industry and home to many of the country's renowned artists, practitioners and institutions. As one of the most diverse cities in the world music plays in Auckland a vital role in shaping the city's identity and in fostering social inclusion. In addition to being a hub for record labels and studios, Auckland is also home to the country's major organising bodies. This has led to a sector that continues to grow year on year, having an estimated current impact of US$370 million on the national GDP.
The music sector's vitality is evident in the year-round anchor festivals which celebrate the city's diverse culture, including Tāmaki Herenga Waka which showcases the city's Māori artists and heritage. One other example is the Music in Parks initiative; a series of free outdoor concerts representing New Zealand's largest showcase of local artists. The Going Global Music Summit stimulates connections with international producers. Many initiatives focus on improving youth access to culture through free concerts and by granting musical scholarships for students in low socio-economic situations. Similarly, the Musicians Mentoring in Schools programme aims to connect top local and international artists with emerging talents.
Auckland Council recognises the importance of musicians and assists in elevating their status. Toi Whītiki, Auckland's Arts and Culture Strategic Plan is the main policy supporting and harnessing the potential of the music industry. Launched in 2015, it recognises the far-reaching benefits of the creative sector and aims at making arts and culture part of Aucklanders' everyday lives, as well as building a flourishing creative economy. This includes growing funding for the arts as well as promoting its economic, social, cultural and environmental value and supporting professional development opportunities. Toi Whītiki also involves providing affordable, access to creative spaces and building capability within arts and cultural institutions.
As a Creative City of Music, Auckland envisages:
- rethinking the development of music heritage, as well as creating a platform for future music heritage projects by promoting and protecting the city's musical history, placing the Māori heritage at its centre, thus strengthening the community and celebrating Auckland's cultural identity at the international level;
- strengthening the music ecosystem by reviewing regulations concerning live music venues, stimulating investments for the sector and the city through sound recording projects, and potential subsidies for sector workers;
- integrating music, intertwined with other art forms, into public transport, encouraging transport use and enhancing exposure to local creativity;
- launching the Creative Launchpads; an initiative involving the development of an incubator and network hubs, and therefore positioning Auckland as a music and creative capital of the South Pacific; and
- fostering the development of song writing, composition and music literature within the UCCN, with a primary focus on cooperation between the Australasian member cities.