26 Aug 2015
Recently, Local Government New Zealand suggested “special economic zones” could be created around provincial towns to help regional development.
While the proposal for special zones is being considered at the top level, others have already picked up the idea and run with it.
TEZA (the Transitional Economic Zone of Aotearoa) is an artist led project aiming to change our ideas about what wealth is.
“Porirua is a great community, rich in diversity and culture. Let’s celebrate this by bringing people together to share everything from food to ideas and stories and show that an economy where everyone wins is not just possible, but the way ahead,” says Mark Amery, co-curator of TEZA.
The festival is the work of the award-winning Letting Space production team and part of a global movement that recognizes art’s ability to help find new ways for us to work together and revitalise communities. The most high profile example of this was the work done by Gap Filler in Christchurch following the earthquakes.
TEZA, supported by Creative New Zealand and Porirua City Council, will run between 21-29 November.
“We are really looking forward to TEZA being a catalyst for uniting the fabulous social innovation and collaboration that is being done in our suburbs and communities,” says Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett.
For the duration of the week, the site of the old McDonald’s will act as a hub for artists working on a dozen projects. The fast-food outlet was the first of its kind in this country when it opened in 1976 and an important meeting place, but the building has been disused for several years.
During TEZA it will be brought to life with a variety of works including, a people’s library, bread-making from the different cultures living in the area and a DIY funeral service.
As part of TEZA, a mini-festival will also take place at the nearby Takapuwahia community gardens, filmmaker Wiremu Grace (Ngati Toa) says. “We will celebrate our kaumatua with stories of connection to the land, sea and environment. Past, present and future. We will share fire, kai, rongoa, hangi, mirimiri, games, workshops and laughter in the spirit of community.”
Letting Space successfully staged the first TEZA in New Brighton in 2013. They are the same team behind Wellington’s Urban Dream Brokerage which helps artists transform empty retail space to enliven the city.
“TEZA is for demonstrating economies of mutual benefit and to show that cities can be kind places where people experience meaningful connections,” says co-curator Sophie Jerram.
Artists so far confirmed include TEZA 2013 veterans Kim Paton, Tim Barlow, Mark Harvey, David Cook, Ash Holwell and Kerry Ann Lee. New contributors include Wiremu Grace, Leala Falesuega, Lana Lopesi, Faith Wilson, Vanessa Crowe, Jennifer Whitty, Simon Gray, Paula MacEwan, Moana Mitchell, Kawika Aipa, Kava Club, Barbarian Productions, Andrew Matautia, and Moses Viliamu.
TEZA is also supported by the Mana Community Trust.