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New Zealand’s most creative city in 2022

Although the top-ranking city in the Infometrics Creativity Index remained the same in 2022, there were some movements further down the ranking as local economies bounced back from the impact of COVID.

Wellington City tops the chart again

Wellington City has held the mantel of being the most creative city in New Zealand since 2000 when our time series begins. With a Creative Index of 6.9 in 2022 Wellington is still way ahead of any of its competitors.

Wellington City’s creative sector has been through some tough years with employment in the sector declining for three successive years to 2021. However, the sector bounced back strongly in 2022 with employment in the sector growing at a very robust 3.7%. Strong employment growth helped push the city’s Creativity Index to 6.9 in 2022 from 6.0 the previous year.

The Infometrics Creativity Index measures the proportion of the workforce employed in the Arts and Creative sector. The sector includes all industries and occupations that are regarded as creative. According to the Index, 6.9% of Wellington City’s workforce (12,403 people) were employed in the creative sector in 2022.

Queenstown holds onto the second spot

Queenstown and Auckland have long been vying for second place in the Creativity Index. The tourist mecca regained the second spot in 2021 with a creativity index of 5.0 and held onto it in 2022 with its index rising to 5.6. Employment in the creative sector in Queenstown-Lakes District jumped by 5.1% in 2022.

Auckland has a slightly lower index with 5.4% of its workforce employed in the creative sector. In absolute terms it is by far the largest creative sector in the country with nearly than 51,000 Aucklanders employed in the sector.

Wellington Region dominates the top 10

Five of the eight territorial authorities in Wellington Region are in the top 10 in the Creativity Index, with only Upper Hutt, Masterton and Carterton not in the top 10. Upper Hutt is very close to entering the top 10 sitting at number 11, up from 25 ten years ago. The opening of the $50 million Lane Street Studio in Upper Hutt will give the city’s creative sector a huge boost and potentially push it into the top 10 over the next few years.

Some big movers over the past 10 years

The ranking of New Zealand’s cities and districts changes slowly over time but there are some outstanding performers. Kaipara District is the biggest mover over the last decade, jumping 25 positions to 15th place in 2022. Manawatu District and Waikato District are the next biggest movers, jumping 20 and 16 spots respectively.

Technical note

The creative sector has been measured using Infometrics online Sector Profiles. We have defined a sector which includes a range of creative industries (for example, motion picture and video production, performing arts operation) and occupations (for example, musician, architect). The online profile provides a wide variety of indicators for the creative sector including employment, contribution to GDP, demographic characteristics of the workforce, and earnings. More details can be found here.

Previous Creativity Index editions

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