Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s two annual reports – one for Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Limited and the other for Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Trust – capture a strong, but challenging year of delivering cultural experiences and economic development programmes that made a significant contribution to the re-opening of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

The highlights achieved included an attributable $325 million in investment attracted to the region, 2.08 million ticketed attendees to TAU venues and events, $74 million GDP contribution from major and business events the organisation supported, and the delivery of hugely popular cultural festivals on behalf of Auckland Council.

Tātaki Auckland Unlimited is the umbrella organisation comprising two Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs): Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Limited (TAU Limited) and Tātaki Auckland Unlimited Trust (TAU Trust). 

TAU Trust owns and operates some of the region’s best-loved venues including Auckland Zoo, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananu a Tangaroa, Aotea Centre, The Civic, and three major stadiums; while TAU Limited invests in, attracts or delivers a diverse range of major and business events, operates two film studios, helps to attract direct investment to the region, supports the visitor economy, innovation and skills development, and is the guardian of the regional brand.

Together, TAU Trust and TAU Limited worked with diverse public and private sector partners to help Auckland’s strong emergence from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

TAU Chief Executive Nick Hill says: “Our year’s achievements reflect the pivotal role Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s wide-ranging work has in reinforcing Auckland’s place as an emerging global city with outstanding cultural and sporting experiences and a thriving economy.

“This was a year of contrasts, with the end of COVID-19 restrictions allowing the return of some fantastic major events, people being able to re-engage with the amazing experiences at our cultural organisations, and investment and industry support programmes to be delivered – but the growing challenge of council’s budget deficit significantly impacting our current and future operations, and summer’s storms causing damage to several venues and affecting events.

“By year end, we had delivered excellent results while remaining focused on providing value to ratepayers, and on helping council meet its major budget shortfalls,” says Nick Hill.

View the TAU Trust Annual Report 2022/23

Non-rates sources provided 53 per cent of TAU Trust’s $131.5m total operating revenue, with most of that from fees and user charges. TAU Trust spent $57.8m during the year on a capital works programme to improve existing facilities and experiences – including major work at Go Media Stadium, Mt Smart, and the heritage restoration project at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. TAU Trust finished the year with a total comprehensive income of $359m, primarily due to donated artworks of $187m, and gains on property and art revaluations of $194m. Expenditure management included a staff restructure, reduced or deferred spending in areas such as advertising, and deferring unscheduled repairs and maintenance.

The financial year saw:

  • more than 2.08 million tickets issued to attend TAU Trust venues
  • record-breaking attendance at the Zoo during its centenary year which also saw the South-East Asia Habitat completed, and Sumatran tigers introduced
  • record-breaking attendance at New Zealand Maritime Museum, inspired by its Captains, Collections, Friends and Adventurers Exhibition
  • nearly 77,000 visitors to the Gallery’s Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibition, making it one of its most successful ticketed exhibitions
  • Auckland Live attract 40,000 visitors to its Summer in the Square programme at Aotea Square, and present a strong line-up of international and local acts, and conference events at its renowned venues
  • huge crowds at summer’s Harry Styles and Red Hot Chilli Peppers concerts at Mt Smart Stadium; and packed grandstands for the NZ Warriors’ home matches.

View the TAU Limited Annual Report 2022/23

TAU Limited’s total revenue was $107.1m. Nearly half of direct revenue came from grants and subsidies (including government grants), rentals, licences, memberships and other sources; while Auckland Council-sourced ratepayer funding contributed the rest.

TAU Limited’s highlights included:

  • developed and delivered the Diwali and Pasifika festivals* to Aucklanders thirsting for large-scale events, with Diwali attracting a record attendance of more than 100,000
  • played a key role in an outstanding Te Matatini Festival
  • $74 million GDP contribution from major and business events the organisation supported
  • attracted more than $325 million attributable investment
  • supported nearly 1500 businesses through its programmes and interventions
  • opened Reserve, the newest TAU Limited-initiated innovation hub
  • helped more than 2000 Pacific workers gain skills credentials through the Project Ikuna programme
  • celebrated several years’ work coming to fruition with the opening of two new sound stages at Auckland Film Studios, funded by council and government.
    *noting the Auckland Lantern Festival was cancelled following Auckland’s severe weather event in January

A focus on alternative funding

Alongside the rest of the council group, Tātaki Auckland Unlimited restructured to align with council’s budget shortfall. Nick Hill says: “The changes across all parts of the business means we are fully primed to provide maximum value to council and Auckland ratepayers – while being committed to continuing to reduce our reliance on ratepayer funding.”

A great example of this during the reporting year was TAU Trust signing a ground-breaking naming rights deal which saw one of the region’s main stadiums re-named Go Media Stadium, Mt Smart.

Another was TAU Limited’s launch of the Destination Partnership Programme to industry in May. It involves TAU Limited joining forces with Auckland’s destination industry to promote the region as a compelling place to visit for business and leisure. By year end, $1.75m in membership applications had been received from more than 100 visitor economy businesses across the region.

Delivering for mana whenua and matāwaka

TAU has a focus on achieving the strategic priorities in Te Mahere Aronga – the organisation’s Māori outcomes plan. TAU delivered 88 programmes and initiatives contributing to the visibility and presence of Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

The diverse outcomes delivered in 2022/23 included: TAU’s significant programme of installing bilingual te reo Māori/English signs at its venues including Auckland Town Hall, The Civic, Shed 10 and Go Media Stadium, Mt Smart; more than 100 Māori businesses were supported through TAU programmes and interventions; ongoing support for the Whāriki Māori Business Network; the launch of Taki, a TAU-developed Māori language learning app; TAU participated in the 12-week TupuToa Intern Programme, hosting university students so they could gain work experience to help their careers; TAU’s Auckland Live division delivered a by-Māori, for-Māori Autaia programme – led by haka theatre company Hawaiki TŪ in partnership with Auckland Live – which welcomed 322 students supported by 60 kaiako (teachers) from seven kura kaupapa Māori to Te Pokapū Aotea Centre.

Nick Hill says: “We recognise Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the vital role TAU plays in advancing positive Māori outcomes in our region. We delivered solid achievements right across the organisation this year, and we will continue to invest in our partnerships with hapū, iwi and other Māori groups of Tāmaki Makaurau to deliver on our collective aspirations and strategic priorities.”