UNESCO Creative Cities Network

New Zealand is proud to have four designated UNESCO Creative Cities.

What is a UNESCO Creative City?

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

The Network is made up of 246 cities – from across the globe – working towards a common objective of placing creativity and cultural industry at the heart of development plans locally and co-operating actively internationally.

It covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.

Our UNESCO Creative Cities Network

Dunedin became Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Creative City in 2014, when it joined the Network as a UNESCO City of Literature.

In 2017 Auckland was accepted as a UNESCO City of Music and in 2019, Aotearoa New Zealand gained its third Creative City when Wellington was designated a UNESCO City of Film. Whanganui joined the Aotearoa UNESCO Creative City family in 2021 when it was announced as a UNESCO City of Design.

Aotearoa's current Creative Cities:

Dunedin CCN Teen Space

Dunedin City of Literature

Dunedin/Ōtepoti is a unique small city that has always been home to prominent orators and writers. The tradition continues to this day with the city producing wonderful writing in te reo Māori, English and other languages, encompassing all genres and age groups. The University of Otago provides an academic and research environment second to none and is home to the prestigious Robert Burns Fellowship. As well as the University, the City of Literature team collaborates with writers, arts practitioners, community groups, festivals, publishers, galleries and booksellers and runs free programmes in schools. The team is proud to celebrate the rich and diverse community of writers in Ōtepoti and Aotearoa on the world stage.
Creative cities 2 3x

Auckland City of Music

Auckland is one of the most diverse cities in the world with more than 220 ethnic groups, and large Pacific and Māori populations. These communities add a unique sound to the city’s cultural fabric. Māori waiata and moteatea capture untold histories and express Auckland’s stories of love, fear, anger and loss. Auckland has a coterie of artists and musicians who contribute to the diversity of the city and communities. Auckland values its music sector working across a wide range of genre and roles.
WGT CCN Students filming

Wellington City of Film

Wellington as a UNESCO City of Film, is working to elevate the visual storytellers of Wellington, and to bring an array of cultural experiences to its people . By working with industry, community groups and educators, Wellington aims to be and remain the best place to watch, make and learn about movies. Wellington wants to become a bi-cultural City of Film, elevating and promoting Māori stories and storytellers particularly mana whenua and stories of the Wellington region.
Sarjeant Gallery Whanganui
Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua

Whanganui City of Design

Whanganui is home to a diverse and accomplished population of creatives. The city has a rich history in creativity, from Māori designers’ artistry and innovation, to the visionary architects who created the city’s breath-taking landmark buildings. The city has become increasingly diverse, and each new influence adds to Whanganui’s creative profile. Whanganui has a reputation as a place rich in inspiration with a wealth of educational opportunities which attracts designers and artists to the city and creates an environment that nurtures and values them. The Whanganui River inspires creativity. “Ko te Awa te mātāpuna o te ora" - the River is the source of spiritual and physical sustenance.
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