27 Nov 2023

This content is tagged as Pacific arts .


A smiling and singing group of young people perform a traditional Tongan dance, in traditional Tongan dress
Pasifika in the Bay 2023, photo courtesy of Miki Nakagawa.

The Pacific Arts Festival Capability Grant was designed to support established Pacific Arts Festivals to strengthen, develop, and continue on a sustainable path.   

Through  this one-off fund, a total of 14 Pacific festivals were supported.

Mīharo Murihiku is a Māori and Pasifika cultural arts trust, based in Invercargill. For 14 years, Miharo have been engaging communities through initiatives like the Murihiku Cultural Polyfest and the Central Lakes Cultural Polyfest

Business and Finance Manager Hīria Palmer says this funding will help support employment opportunities and skills development - building economic growth whilst strengthening the potential for future leadership in their region.

“Our focus will be to maximise opportunities for developing a sustainable market for Pasifika art,” Hiria says.

“We’ll establish an e-commerce platform and retail store to merchandise authentic heritage and contemporary Pasifika art forms - a groundbreaking initiative for our community in Murihiku and Southland as this is an untapped market in our rohe.”

Central Lakes Polyfest 2023
Mīharo Murihiku Polyfest 2022. Image by James Jubb (image supplied).

This Capability Fund has been made possible by a one-off allocation from Manatū Taonga Ministry of Culture and Heritage as part of their Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme.

Its purpose is to support established Pacific Arts festivals, who continue to be impacted by the effects of COVID-19, to continue to celebrate the experiences, stories, cultures, and regional identities of New Zealanders through Pacific arts, improve access and participation, provide opportunities for employment or skills development, strengthen festival sustainability, skills and experience, and deliver to the outcomes of the Pacific Arts Strategy.

Melanie Cottingham, from Tauranga-based festival Pasifika in the Bay, says this funding will help them to strengthen their governance and finance capabilities.

“It will also give us the opportunity to talanoa with Mīharo Murihiku – an organisation we admire – to gain insight into their governance and operational structure, as well as their education activities”, says Mel.

“At Pasifika in the Bay this year, we included designing your own hiapo (Niuean decorated barkcloth), grating the coconut, a Cook Island pate session and making ula lole (Samoan necklace made of sweets) - our tamaiti were IN TO IT!”

“This highlighted an area for us to build by working alongside our Pacific artists, creatives, academics, knowledge holders and matua to expand our cultural arts.”

The one-off festivals capability funding was awarded to 21 Māori and Pasifika festivals from across Aotearoa.

$1,818,591.50 total funding was requested
$1,564,180 total funding awarded

The funded festivals are: 

  1. Te Kiato Limited for Rātā – Northland
  2. Hawaiiki Tū Productions Limited for AUTAIA - Auckland
  3. Polynesian Entertainers Limited - Auckland
  4. The Polyfest Trust - Auckland
  6. Fe'unu Koula Global Academy of Tongan Arts Dance and Culture Ltd - Auckland
  7. Pasifika in the Bay Trust - Tauranga
  8. Te Tuhi Mareikura Trust for Toi Kiri - Tauranga
  9. Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Charitable Trust - Rotorua 
  10. Aronui Arts Festival – Rotorua
  11. Fale Pasifika Horowhenua - Horowhenua
  12. Māoriland Charitable Trust for Māoriland Film Festival – Horowhenua
  13. Le Moana - Porirua
  14. CreekFest - Porirua
  15. Wellington Northern Region Polyfest Trust – Porirua
  16. The Hutt Valley Schools HuttFest Trust – Lower Hutt
  17. Kalia - Blenheim
  18. Niu Economic and Enterprise Development Trust – Canterbury
  19. Aoraki Pasifika Festival - Timaru
  20. Te Mana Ahua Ake Charitable Trust - Dunedin
  21. Mīharo Murihiku Trust for Mīharo Murihiku Festival - Southland