Auckland’s status as a UNESCO City of Music

Auckland UNESCO City of Music
Tāmaki Makaurau UNESCO Pā Puoro

Auckland’s status as a UNESCO City of Music

In 2016, Recorded Music New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) and the Australasian Performing Right Association | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA I AMCOS) approached Auckland Council, on behalf of the Auckland music sector, with the suggestion to make an application to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

Formal designation was conferred on 1 November 2017 when Auckland became a City of Music within the UCCN. The announcement was made by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova at the UCCN XI Annual Meeting in Enghien-les-Bains, France. Auckland joined a network of 180 cities from 72 countries at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development. 

Auckland is now one of 31 UNESCO Cities of Music worldwide, and New Zealand’s second Creative City, alongside Dunedin (Literature).

In November 2018, the Auckland Music Strategy Te Rautaki Puoro o Tāmaki Makaurau 2018 — 2021 was officially launched at an event in The Civic Wintergarden. The strategy outlines the benefits the status of a UNESCO City of Music will bring to Auckland residents, New Zealanders and international visitors. It also outlines a plan for the way Auckland will develop as a City of Music, providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to contribute to Auckland’s success as a music city. It was developed through collaboration between Auckland Council, its council-controlled organisations (CCOs) and Auckland’s music sector and is available on the Auckland City of Music website. The November launch also served to release the Auckland City of Music tohu, designed to raise awareness of the city’s status.


The Auckland Music Strategy Te Rautaki Puoro o Tāmaki Makaurau 2018 - 2021 vision:

Music in Tāmaki Makaurau is thriving and is a source of pride and inspiration for Aucklanders, with a music scene that provides a platform for success and reflects the culture and character of the city.

He momoho te puoro i roto o Tāmaki Makaurau, he puna whakahīhī me te whakaohooho ia mō ngā iwi o Tāmaki, he ao puoro tōna ka noho hei atamira e eke ai ki tōna taumata, ka kitea hoki ngā tikanga me te mauri o te tāone nui.

What is the UNESCO Creative Cities Network?

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

The cities that currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing culture and creative industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level. Joining the UCCN offers

Auckland the opportunity to leverage the benefits the network champions including sustainable urban development, the exchange of knowledge and skills, and facilitates cooperation on an international level.

By joining the network, Auckland is acknowledging its long and rich musical history and its commitment to sharing best practice, developing partnerships that promote creativity, and strengthening participation in cultural life.


For all enquiries please contact: or visit our website 


Image captions (L-R):

Irene and Saia Folau performing at the Auckland Music Strategy Launch, 14 Nov 2018.

LEXXA performing at the Auckland Music Strategy Launch, 14 Nov 2018.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke via video message at the Auckland Music Strategy Launch, 14 Nov 2018.

All photography by Serena Stevenson.



/ / / / / 
Twitter: @AKLcityofmusic
Instagram: @aucklandcityofmusic

Be the first to know about live events in Auckland!