04 Dec 2019
Practitioners and knowledge holders from across the Pacific were invited to Aotearoa to participate in the Pacific Heritage Arts Fono (21-23 November) as part of Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Exchange Programme.
While in Aotearoa they engaged with a range of local artists, practitioners, community groups and arts institutions to share their customary practices and knowledge.
This year four knowledge holders from the Oceania region were invited – Dennis Marita (Solomon Islands), Simione Sevudredre (Fiji), Tanya Edwards (Tonga) and Allan Haeweng (New Caledonia):
- Dennis Marita - Director of Culture at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Solomon Islands and is a new member of the International Federation of Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies Board. Dennis was the Artistic Director for the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts hosted by Solomon Islands in 2012, has a strong passion for film and has been writing film scripts for over a decade. He graduated from the University of Papua New Guinea in 2000 with a Bachelors Degree in Arts, Majoring in Theatre Arts.
- Simione Sevudredre (Fiji) – Simione is the Principal Administration Officer at the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs (indigenous Fijian arts) in Fiji. Highly-respected by the Fijian community both in Fiji and NZ, he has worked with both Creative New Zealand and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples providing his expert knowledge and cultural support for both the Fiji Pacific Cultural Exchange programme and Fijian Language Week respectively. He will also be playing a key role in the inaugural Fiji Arts Festival taking place in Suva from 12 – 14 December 2019.
- Tanya Edwards (Tonga/NZ) – Tanya is an artist of Tongan and Māori descent and has been living in Tonga for the past 20 years where she is primarily a print-maker. Her work is often an exploration of her bi-cultural heritage, reflecting both the fine art of Māori weaving from her maternal lineage and the Tongan tapa textiles of her father’s side. She has a passion for working with Tongan feta’aki (bark cloth) and has spent time studying the art of ngatu and the traditional processes of making it.
- Allan Haeweng (New Caledonia) – Allan is from Lifou island, Kanaky New Caledonia. He studied humanities and literature at the New Sorbonne University in Paris, France before completing a Master in Arts Management at AUT University in New Zealand. He worked independently with the Tjibaou cultural centre in Noumea, New Caledonia, on exhibition projects involving international and Oceanian artists. In May 2018, he was appointed as the Director at the Cultural Centre of the municipality of Vook-Voh in the North Province of New Caledonia
They were selected for their knowledge of heritage arts in their respective countries and their ability to develop further opportunities and collaborations between Aotearoa and their countries.
The kaupapa of the programme is to encourage the exchange of practice, knowledge and ideas between Aotearoa-Pasifika artists/practitioners with artists based in Oceania and around the globe.
Arts Development Services Senior Manager Cath Cardiff says, “In the long term we hope to see more artistic activity, exchange and collaborations between artists in Aotearoa with Pasifika artists in Oceania and beyond.”
“We would like to see these exchanges contribute to the deepening of knowledge and development of practice for Aotearoa-based Pasifika artists,” she says.
Creative New Zealand Investment partner, the Pacifica Arts Centre, managed the Pacific Exchange Programme. They also supported hosts Massey University’s Creative College of Creative Arts (COCA) with the Pacific Heritage Arts Fono 2019, under the Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Strategy 2018 – 2023.
Now in its fifth year, 2019 was the first year the fono was held outside of Auckland.