Our proposal and projects

We are proposing to embark on a “Decade of Culture” that will emphasise and enhance the city’s unique creative strengths. We're putting forward a proposal for consultation, and we also want your feedback on a range of projects that are at different stages of development.

For a full description, read our consultation document (2MB PDF) | text version (118KB TXT) | accessible PDF (979KB PDF) | text version (1.4MB Word).

Rates impact and financial information

There are two options. Supporting our proposal means an increase in our levels of service. Not supporting it means keeping our current levels of service.

Our proposal

Strengthening cultural facilities


We propose earthquake strengthening Council cultural facilities so they can continue to support our arts and culture sector. This includes the following:

  • The St James Theatre ($11.5 million of capital expenditure in years 1 and 2)
  • The Town Hall ($88.7 million of capital expenditure). This is an increase from the $57 million consulted on in the Long-term Plan 2015-25. The increase is mainly due to increased project contingency and cost escalation
  • Wellington Museum (strengthening and upgrade in years 3 and 4, at an estimated cost of $10 million of capital expenditure)
  • Other venues ($7.5 million of capital expenditure for minor strengthening works for Wellington Zoo, pools and libraries)
Workers strengthening Wellington Town Hall.

We're proposing to earthquake strengthen the Town Hall.

Further reading

Additional support for the arts


We're proposing to invest $16 million over 10 years to support a coordinated programme of events, activities, theatre and public art to position the city as a global cultural destination.

It also involves growing key festivals like Matariki into large-scale national festivals.

Man and woman with old suitcase on a wheel between them.

To position Wellington as a global cultural destination, we're proposing to invest in a programme of events, like the World of WearableArt Awards (Image: Poly Nation by Kate MacKenzie, World of WearableArt Awards).

Other projects

Investment in the arts


We will continue our investment in community arts and cultural projects. This includes the following:

  • Te Whare Hēra: This is an international artist residency programme that brings artists to live, work and exhibit in Wellington for 3 to 6 months at a time. It has been carried out in collaboration with Te Whiti o Rehua (Massey University School of Art) since 2014. It is proposed that this programme continue to be delivered at a cost of $45,000 per year.
  • Arts and Culture Fund: As previously agreed, we would add $195,000 to the Arts and Culture Fund over the next 10 years. This would maintain our support for important arts organisations with 3-year funding contracts. This fund currently supports Orchestra Wellington, Circa Theatre, Kia Mau Festival and others.
Woman holding NZ flag, kiwiana ‘shield’, Māori warrior on right, crown on top.

We want to keep supporting important arts organisations. (Image: Wake Up Tomorrow, Circa Theatre).

Further reading

Investment in cultural and visitor attractions


In the Long-term Plan 2015-25, we agreed – after receiving positive feedback from the community – to invest in a Movie Museum and Convention Centre and a new indoor arena to host major events and musical acts.

Funding was allocated to progress these initiatives.

The Movie Museum and Convention Centre are expected to draw visitors and boost economic growth, and also raise Wellington’s profile as an arts and culture capital.

We will continue to work on this project in the coming year.

Artist impression: windowless, metallic looking building in a wave shape.

The Movie Museum and Convention Centre is expected to draw visitors, boost economic growth and add to our reputation as a centre of arts and culture.

Rates impact and financial information

This financial information relates specifically to the initiatives listed as part of our proposal. It does not consider the costs of the other projects because these are at different stages of development.

For earthquake strengthening cultural facilities, by year 10 this would add:

  • 20.4 percent or $103.6 million to total borrowings (after $14.1 million of debt repayment)
  • $79 (3.3 percent) to the average annual rates bill (equivalent to an average increase of $7.87 per year over the 10 years).

Funding for expanding the reach of major festivals and events would come from existing sources (Wellington’s Regional Amenities Fund and the City Growth Fund) and there would be no additional impact on rates or borrowings.