One Auckland author's outburst has highlighted what many reckon is a Wellington bias in the distribution of arts funding.
In a fiery blog, New Zealand Society of Authors former national president Gordon McLauchlan argued more notice should be taken of demographics when deciding where to site our cultural institutions and spend NZ's cultural budget.
"Even though the population of the country is shifting north at an accelerating rate, Wellington exerts control on every area of New Zealand cultural life by controlling the national cultural infrastructure ..."
And a number of Aucklanders agree. Former Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra publicity manager Tony Waring believes capital bureaucrats are unaware of Auckland's diverse cultural life.
"The more this goes on, the more the bureaucrats convince themselves that Wellington is this cultural capital when, in fact, it is propped up by a disproportionate amount of public money going there."
The Auckland War Memorial Museum, he says, receives virtually no operational funding, while its capital counterpart, Te Papa, scores millions a year from the Government.
Aucklanders are asked to pay to visit their museum; Te Papa is free.
Auckland's Philharmonia Orchestra often finds itself playing second fiddle to the Wellington-based New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, says APO board chairwoman Rosanne Meo. APO figures show it earns $2.56 million a year in government funding - barely a fifth of the NZSO's $12.34 million.
The NZSO visits Auckland about six times yearly, playing about 12 concerts. The APO plays about 40 mainstage concerts a year in Auckland, she says.
"We would love to have their mandate, we would love to have the funding to at least be able to tour in the Auckland region," Ms Meo says.
Author C.K. Stead also reckons too much of the pie goes to Wellington. "I do think there is a disproportionate amount of funding going to Wellington, both through Creative NZ and also through specific things that are located in Wellington when, possibly, there's no great justification for them to remain."
The NZSO is one example, and there is "no justification" for Te Papa's Wellington location, or the "huge disproportion of funds" allocated to it.
Auckland City Council arts, culture and recreation chairman Greg Moyle said Auckland is "desperately short of theatres. It seems only fair that some funding should come out of the central pot to help fund these sorts of infrastructure facilities that we would expect to find in a world-class city like Auckland."
Auckland City Mayor John Banks said there was "much inequity" between Wellington and Auckland.
It was unfair that Auckland City ratepayers alone funded Auckland's art culture and the Regional Amenities Bill would hopefully fix that.
The bill seeks a compulsory levy on ratepayers for arts, culture, rescue services and the zoo that will push up rates by up to 2 per cent.
But Mr Banks stopped short of criticising the Government for spending more on Wellington and said the council was grateful for the art gallery donation.
In Wellington, there is a different opinion of arts funding distribution between the two centres.
Ministry of Culture and Heritage communications manager Sarah Tebbs - a Wellingtonian - says it is "basic Government policy" that Te Papa is the national museum of New Zealand and therefore gets funding.
Population-based arguments had been made in the past, and would be in the future, but there were certain "synergies" between central government and the national institutions.
Though Auckland Museum receives no regular government funding, it had received more than $40 million in redevelopment money since the mid-1990s.
Creative NZ chief executive Stephen Wainwright - also a Wellingtonian - says though he can understand Aucklanders' perceptions, just because there are more people in a city does not mean there are more artists. Though Creative NZ is Wellington-based, it has offices in Auckland, he said.
Many institutions make a conscious decision where to be based, and while the NZSO is in Wellington, Auckland is home to NZ Opera.
Creative NZ supported both the Auckland Theatre Company and Watershed Theatre, but pulled funding after the Watershed disappeared in the mid-90s. "You can't fund something that doesn't exist."
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Helen Clark, who is also the Minister for Culture and Heritage, said the NZSO, the Royal NZ Ballet and Te Papa were all "national" institutions.
"They have a national focus, their work extends beyond Wellington ... Other institutions are locally based. The orchestra tours around the country. It does full seasons in Auckland."
The spokeswoman said the Government had made "huge investments" in Auckland's art culture recently, namely the $30 million donation for the refurbishment of the Auckland Art Gallery.