On 23rd March 1985, Late Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India made his momentous announcement on the setting up of the Zonal Cultural Centers of India; he said
“It is our endeavour that these seven Centers will represent individually the cultures from the States in their zones and will represent jointly the culture of this nation. Thus a new culture, combining all these cultures, will progress in India. Our heritage will thus be preserved for the coming generations …….… If India loses its spirituality, its internal might, then such progress will have no meaning. The Cultural Centres will help strengthen our internal might …. … These Centers should help in making the common culture of Indian people reach other people.”     
With the diversity of cultures that exist in the country, there are various regional forms and styles but there are also some common characteristics that run through the cultures of the people living in that area although they may speak different languages and may have different historical experiences. Such integrated cultural patterns are discernible in various regions of the country and they serve the purpose of an integrating force.
Emphasizing the importance of the ‘Cultural Unity’ that characterizes the heritage and its identification at the regional level Seven Zonal Cultural Centers were established in the country in different regions as follows:

1 North Zone Cultural Centre Patiala (Punjab)
2 Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre Kolkata (West Bengal)
3 West Zone Cultural Centre Udaipur (Rajasthan)
4 South Zone Cultural Centre Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu)
5 North Central Zone Cultural Centre Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)
6 South Central Zone Cultural Centre Nagpur (Maharastra)
7 North East Zone Cultural Centre Dimapur (Nagaland)
The Zonal Cultural Centre of the Northeast India, North East Zone Cultural Centre, registered under the Nagaland Societies Registration Act XXI 1860 (Nagaland First Amendment) Act, 1969 was set up in June 1986 with its headquarters at Dimapur, Nagaland. The 8 (eight) North Eastern States, viz., Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura are the constituent States of the North East Zone Cultural Centre. The NEZCC started functioning with the formal inauguration of the Centre by Late Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India on 6th October 1987. The NEZCC has also established its Shilpgram (Crafts Village), at Panjabari, Guwahati which was inaugurated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on January 17, 2006.
The NEZCC was established with the main objective of promoting and preserving the rich cultural heritage of the North East region.
The management of the Centre is vested in its Governing Body. Supervision, direction and control of the affairs vest in its Executive Board, which is assisted by the Finance Committee, Programme Committee, etc.
The Chairman of the Governing Body and the Executive Board is Governor of Nagaland and the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre is the Director.
Chronology of Chairmen of NEZCC
1 Gen. K. V. Krishna Rao PVSM (Retd.) 1986 – 19.07. 1989
2 Dr. L. T. Gopal Singh 20.07. 1989 to 03.05. 1990
3 Shri. Chintamani Panigrahi 04.05. 1990 to 08.05. 1990
4 Dr. M. M. Thomas 09.05. 1990 to 12.04. 1992
5 Dr. M. M. Thomas 09.05. 1990 to 12.04. 1992
6 Lt. Gen. V. K. Nayar, (Retd.) PVSM, SM 02.10. 1993 to 04.08. 1994
7 Shri O. N. Srivastava 05.08. 1994 to 11.11. 1996
8 Shri Omprakash Sharma 12.11. 1996 to 27.01.2002
9 Shri Shyamal Datta 28.01.2002 to 28.01.2007
10 Shri K. Sankaranarayanan 01.03. 2007 to 27.07.2009
11 Shri Nikhil Kumar 28.07.2009 to 20.03.2013
12 Dr. Ashwani Kumar 21.03.2013 to 01.07.2014
13 Dr. Krishan Kant Paul 02.07.2014 to 20.07.2014
14 Shri P.B. Acharya 21.07.2014 to upto date
Chronology of Director’s of NEZCC
1 Shri M. Alemchiba Ao-Acting Director 11.02. 1986 – 17.09.1987
2 Shri N. Bendang Ao 18.09. 1987 – 17.09. 1991
3 Shri R. N. Bhattacharjee - Acting Director 18.09. 1991 – 31.08. 1992
4 Dr. (Mrs). Temsula Ao 01.09. 1992 – 30.08. 1997
5 Shri Metongmeren Ao, IAS-Acting Director 31.08. 1997 – 18.04. 1999
6 Shri A. Birendra Singh 19.04. 1999 -
7 Shri I. Kina Jamir - Director-in-Charge 29.08.2001 – 06.01.2003
8 Smt. Angau I. Thou, NCS, Director 07.01.2003 – 31.07.2006
9 Smt. V. Hekali Zhimomi, IAS, Director 01.08.2006 – 12.04.2010
10 Shri Talinokcha, Director-in-Charge 13.04.2010 – 06.10.2010
11 Shri Som Kamei, IPoS, Director 07.10.2010 – 06.10.2013
12 Shri Talinokcha, Director-in-Charge 07.10.2013 - 18.12.2013
13 Shri Lipokmar Tzudir 19.12.2013 - upto date
         NEZCC covers the folk-arts, performing arts and other traditional art forms practiced by the people of the region since time immemorial and identify the commonalities in the various cultural elements and provide a forum for interaction of the various cultures. One of the major functions of the Centre is to encourage documentation of the various forms of the folk and tribal music and dances and establish support mechanism for the art forms that are disappearing. The Centre arranges presentation of the art forms of the one unit to others within the region and also to the rest of the country.
NEZCC has been in the vanguard of preserving, nurturing and disseminating the mosaic of cultures and art forms of the seven North Eastern States since its inception. Through this Centre, the rich composite culture of the country is also seen through the prism of the local cultural traits and identities.