Skip to main content
COVID-19 Orange setting

For information about our services and facilities restrictions during the protection framework settings, see the COVID-19 section

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit covid-19.govt.nz

Kaupapa Here Toi Tūmatanui

Public Art Policy

Supporting public art activity in all its forms contributes to our vision of Auckland being the world’s most liveable city.

​Our vision

Our vision is to inspire public art throughout Auckland so that everyone can experience thought-provoking, culturally vibrant, enjoyable, and challenging public art and public space.

What is public art?

We define public art as artistic works or activities experienced by the public within our built and
natural environments. These may be permanent or temporary.

Our definition classifies:

  • permanent public art as enduring from the outset, using durable materials and robust fabrication methods and intended to be maintained for its lifespan
  • temporary public art as having a defined and finite lifespan from the beginning, which can be less than a day to several years.

Public art can include forms or approaches that are:

  • integrated into the overall design of a building or built space such as train stations, bridges,
    cycleways, and community facilities
  • installations integral to a place, including cultural markers such as pou whenua or environmental art
  • stand-alone, three-dimensional art works such as sculpture
  • ‘landmark’ artworks conceived of from the outset as a destination or cultural icon
  • features applied to an exterior surface, such as mosaics, murals or reliefs
  • creative activation that may be transitory in nature, such as performance or digital art
  • creative processes, such as artists working collaboratively within design teams or
    community groups.

Benefits of public art

The benefits of public art include:

  • highlighting Auckland’s distinctive Māori identity and culture
  • reflecting the diversity of our people and telling the stories of our place
  • creating safe and vibrant public space
  • supporting thriving and inclusive communities
  • generating a sense of pride and belonging
  • supporting Auckland as a visitor destination.

Our long-term goal over the 10-year lifetime of the Public Art Policy is to achieve a target of 1 per cent
of our total eligible capital expenditure allocated to public art.

Public art roles and responsibilities

Many parts of the Auckland Council family are involved in the development of public art, including
our elected members, council business units, and council controlled organisations (CCOs), such as Panuku and Auckland Transport.

We also work with a wide range of stakeholders and partners including mana whenua, funders, private trusts and donors, and of course with artists.

The Public Art Policy aims to ensure we are all working together to achieve the same vision and outcomes.

For our teams and CCOs this means:

  • acting in accordance with the full purpose and objectives of the policy
  • working with our Public Art team early in the  project planning phase to:
    • identify opportunities for the integration of public art, especially within major building developments and place-making projects
    • ensure all public art projects align with at least one of our four public art outcomes
    • ensure there is adequate provision for the future care and maintenance of all permanent public art.

Our goals

Outcome one

Our public art is unique and distinctive — it responds to our place.

This includes public art that:

  • is site-specific, reflecting Auckland’s character, people, places and stories
  • celebrates and expresses Te Ao Māori and the creativity, history and stories of mana whenua, mātauranga Māori and communities
  • celebrates and expresses Auckland’s Pacific peoples and our diverse communities and cultures
  • defines Auckland as a unique destination with recognisable characteristics and cultural markers.

Outcome two

Our public art delights, welcomes, challenges and inspires, and:
  • is engaging and thought provoking, generating a sense of fun and surprise, challenging ideas and initiating debate
  • contributes to Aucklanders feeling at home in their city, fostering a sense of identity, pride and belonging
  • enhances and enriches the way locals and manuhiri experience Auckland, expressing our manaakitanga
  • helps to build cultural and social connectivity and cohesion.

Outcome three

Our public art is artistically strong and innovative while celebrating our cultural richness and creativity.

This includes art that:

  • has an outstanding reputation for its quality, variety, depth and innovation
  • supports, celebrates and showcases Auckland’s creativity, talent and diversity
  • involves the creativity of artists from throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Outcome four

Public art transforms Auckland's public places, and:
  • plays a key role in the design of our public places
  • enhances how people experience a place, contributing to its mood, safety and accessibility
  • delivers creative solutions to urban design challenges
  • integrates art and design features into place-making and development projects
  • activates and animates public space.

Get a copy of the Public Art Policy