Auckland is one of the most diverse cities in the world: its 1.5 million residents span more than 220 ethnic groups, and four in ten Aucklanders were born overseas. It is also home to a large Pacific population and 60 per cent of Māori live in Auckland and surrounding regions.

With music and language intrinsically linked in Māori and Pacific culture, these communities add a richness and a unique sound to the city’s cultural fabric: Māori waiata (songs) and moteatea (laments) serve a particularly important function, capturing otherwise untold histories and expressing our city’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 our communities. As a city, Auckland values its music sector – the music-makers, the heroes, as well as the specialists – working across a wide range of genre and roles.

Find out more about Auckland


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.

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.

The current 31 Cities of Music include:

Adelaide (Australia) / Almaty (Kazakhstan) / Amarante (Portugal) / Auckland (New Zealand) / Brazzaville (DR Congo) / Brno (Czech Republic) / Bogotá (Colombia) / Bologna (Italy) / Chennai (India) / Daegu (Korea) / Frutillar (Chile) / Ghent (Belgium) / Glasgow (UK) / Hanover (Germany) / Hamamatsu (Japan) / Idanha-a-Nova (Portugal) / Kansas City (USA) / Katowice (Poland) / Kingston (Jamaica) / Kinshasa (DR Congo) / Liverpool (UK) / Morelia (Mexico) / Norrköping (Sweden) / Mannheim (Germany) / Medellín (Colombia) /  Pesaro (Italy) / Praia (Cape Verde) / Salvador (Brazil) / Seville (Spain) / Tongyeong (Korea) / Varanasi (India).

Visit the Cities of Music Network website


In 2016 Recorded Music New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) and the alliance 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).

Steering Group

A Steering Group has been put together and consists of music sector stakeholders and relevant Auckland Council representatives. It is responsible for governance of the City of Music designation. It will champion the City of Music Strategy, map out timelines and budgets, and monitor delivery on goals, actions and projects.

Steering Group representation:

  • Auckland Council

  • Auckland Unlimited (consisting of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development  and Regional Facilities Auckland)

  • Australasian Performing Right Association Limited | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society Limited (APRA I AMCOS)

  • New Zealand Music Commission

  • Recorded Music New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)

Download our Strategy Document to find out more