Auckland needs to trumpet its creative sector louder, a council report says.

"If we do wish to develop as a creative city, we do need some icons ... in terms of town planning, in terms of architecture, in terms of sculpture. It's underpinning the notion that it is a city that values creativity, design, the arts. It's walking the talk."

That is the view of a designer in an Auckland City Council report, Snapshot: Auckland's creative industries, which examines the state of the creative sector in the city.

Despite Wellington's image as more of a creative city, the report finds that Auckland's critical mass is drawing creative people to the region. Of New Zealand's 36,540 full-time creative jobs, 18,730 are in the region. Three-quarters of those, or 13,616, are in Auckland City.

Auckland is home to the fashion industry and New Zealand Fashion Week, the major televisions and production companies, the music industry and the Big Day Out and New Zealand Music Awards, the majority of the country's architects and designers, and highly innovative talent areas such as digital animation.

The creative sector in Auckland City employs more people than the construction and restaurant/cafe sectors and is catching the finance and insurance sector.

Interviews with 400 businesses found critical mass provided a substantial economic base and a bigger stage on which talent can perform but a sense that Auckland had done little to promote the creative sector.

Dame Cheryll Sotheran, creative industries director for Trade and Enterprise, said as an Aucklander she felt frustrated the city had all the opportunities - amazing location, scale, size, climate, colour and energy - "but it wasn't realising those opportunities in an imaginative or courageous way".

Businesses complained about the difficulty of finding affordable office space and venues, and they wanted access to faster broadband.

Pacific Island leader Pauline Winter said the Pasifika Festival - "a kind of Big Day Out for brown people" - needed rebranding to become an international event.

Media commentator Russell Brown said he once interviewed Jade software founder Sir Gil Simpson, who talked about the "cultural infrastructure" that made it possible to attract skilled workers to the end of the earth in Christchurch: theatre, a symphony orchestra and a great art gallery.

"This is the thing," said Brown. "If you don't take care to nurture and where necessary support a cultural sector, you're just a shitty little trading post at the bottom of the Pacific."

Mayor Dick Hubbard said the challenge was to make Auckland attractive for what was a mobile and global industry.

The chairman of the economic development and sustainable business committee, Richard Northey, said the report would form the basis of an action plan outlining how the council could better assist the creative industries.

"The sector sees itself as having a great deal to contribute towards the city and, specifically, it would like recognition of their potential as an even more important economic force," Mr Northey said.

Auckland City arty types

* Advertising, architecture and graphic design - 5400 jobs.
* Screen production and radio - 3480 jobs.
* Publishing (books, magazines, newspapers) - 2785 jobs.
* Visual arts, crafts and photography - 893 jobs.
* Performing arts - 806 jobs.
* Music - 252 jobs.
* Total - 13,616.

Other cities

Creative job numbers:
* North Shore - 2334.
* Manukau - 1203.
* Waitakere - 821.
* Wellington - 4540.
* Christchurch - 3003.
* Hamilton - 988.