Art and artists are a significant part of Auckland’s creativity and dynamism. Public art is the process and result of engaging artists’ creativity and ideas in developing Auckland’s public places.
What Auckland Council seeks to achieve through the Public Art Policy is that all Aucklanders and visitors have the opportunity to experience thought-provoking, culturally vibrant, enjoyable, challenging and inspiring public art and public space that is distinctive and unique to Auckland.

Auckland’s public art will celebrate the region’s creativity, reflect and express the diversity and character of Auckland, generate pride and belonging, and transform Auckland’s public places. The Public Art Policy reflects the council’s long- term commitment to developing and supporting public art activities and caring for Auckland’s collection of public art assets.

The council has a strong interest in supporting public art activity in all its forms because it contributes to Auckland’s vision in the Auckland Plan of being the world’s most liveable city.

As the world’s most liveable city, Auckland will be a place that Aucklanders are proud of, they want to stay or return to and that others want to visit, move to, or invest in.
This policy has been developed to clearly articulate why and how the council is involved in public art, what the council seeks to achieve from supporting and investing in public art, the principles that guide the council’s actions, the various roles the council plays and the context within which decision-making for public art takes place.​

1.1 Auckland’s unique context

Auckland has a unique and distinctive context.

Public art will respond to what is special about Auckland with our unique combination of qualities: our indigenous Māori culture as Auckland’s point of difference, multicultural diversity, our youthful population, heritage and history, stunning natural landscape and the special character of our built environment, and our distinction as the world’s largest Polynesian city.

1.1.1 Māori identity

The Auckland Plan sets out a vision that states a Māori identity is Auckland’s point of difference in the world.

Auckland is home to the country’s largest Māori population and the mana whenua of the Auckland region bear the cultural traditions and heritage that help to make Auckland unique.
The council will partner with mana whenua to ensure that public art activities contribute to the visibility and celebration of their stories and histories.

The council’s public art activities will give expression to, make visible and meet the place-making aspirations of Auckland’s Māori communities.

1.1.2 People diversity

Auckland’s cultural, ethnic and demographic diversity is one of the region’s most distinctive characteristics.

The council’s public art activities will give expression to, make visible and meet the place-making aspirations of Auckland’s Pacific peoples, diverse ethnic communities and children and young people.
  • Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world, with two-thirds of New Zealand’s Pacific people. Dynamic Pacific languages, cultural practices and customs make Auckland distinctive. The council will work with the region’s Pacific communities and artists to ensure that public art activities contribute to celebrating Auckland’s Polynesian richness.
  • ​By some counts Auckland ranks amongst the most multicultural cities in the world: we host more than 200 different ethnicities, and almost 40 per cent of Aucklanders were not born in New Zealand. In the last 15 years the greatest increase of any ethnic group has been in those of Asian origin, principally from China, India and Korea. The council will work with Auckland’s diverse ethnic, linguistic and cultural communities to reflect and respond to their stories through public art as opportunities arise.
  • ​By global standards Auckland is still a relatively small, comparatively young city, both in terms of the age profile of its population and the history of its development. Auckland’s youthfulness and rapid growth have contributed to the energetic atmosphere ​​in parts of the city. One-third of children in New Zealand live in Auckland and our children and young people are the top priority of the Auckland Plan. Focusing on creating a city that is a great place for children, young people, their families and whanau to live will contribute substantially to making Auckland the world’s most liveable city. Public art will play a role through engaging with and giving expression to the creativity of Auckland’s children and young people.​
1.1.3 Distinctive natural and built environments

Public art activity will respond to the uniqueness of Auckland’s distinctive natural environment and built character.​
  • ​Auckland has a natural environment that few other cities can match: our beaches, islands, harbours, waterways, volcanoes, ranges, lush forests and productive rural areas provide a magnificent setting for the diversity that is Auckland.
  • ​Auckland’s built environment, which retains the feel of a collection of villages and town centres each with its own distinctive characteristics, tells of our heritage and neighbourhood identities.