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BREAKING NEWS: $6.7 Million to Keep Pasifika Festivals Thriving

Maamaloa Gospel Voices performing at Pasifika Festival. Photo; Kim Meredith.
Find out how Tolu Wave is bringing with it a multi-million dollar boost for Pasifika festivals and creatives - and who's getting the funding.

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With the pandemic, we’ve grown used to things coming in waves.

But some of these waves are welcome ones - like the $6.7 million announced with the Tolu Wave – the third funding round of the Pasifika Festivals Initiative. 

It’s part of the funding pool of $12m announced at Budget 2020 where festivals celebrating the vibrant and passionate arts, performances and cultures of our Pacific Island neighbours have been given their own ring-fenced financial support. as part of Manatū Taonga’s Arts and Culture COVID Recovery programme.

Administered by Creative New Zealand, the Pasifika Festivals Initiative is run by both the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples. The joint agency approach is based on Kaupapa Pasifika and Teu Le Va cultural concepts to acknowledge the mana and contributions Pasifika festivals provide to Aotearoa’s cultural landscape and communities, to be enjoyed by all New Zealanders. 

Of the 19 recipients announced in Tolu Wave, all but two are funded for both their 2022 and 2023 cycles.

It ranges from Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Charitable Trust being awarded $20,300 for next year’s capability building costs for next year’s event to one of the jewels in the crown of Aoteroa’s established festivals, Polyfest, securing over $1.67m of funds over two years.

The other more substantial funding recipients include the popular Kia Mau Festival ($455, 973 over two years), Pasifika Festival Villages Charitable Trust ($400,000 over two years) Kalia Marlborough ($397,566 over two years), Te Maeva Nui O Aotearoa NZ Charitable trust ($395,120 over two years) and Miharo Murihiku Trust ($379,378 over two years). 

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni says “Pasifika Festivals are the heart and soul of many communities across Aotearoa, traditionally bringing thousands of people together to appreciate and celebrate the wealth and vibrancy of our Pacific cultures.

“This funding will help to future-proof these festivals and support them to ride the COVID wave and withstand the immediate and sustained impacts of the pandemic.

Minister Carmel Sepuloni (centre) visiting Polyfest with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Supplied.

“Earlier this year, I attended ASB Polyfest and Auckland’s Pasifika Festival, both of which were recipients of funding through Tasi Wave, the first round of funding. It was incredibly heartening to see people and their families enjoying the performances, supporting food stalls and thriving on stage.

“There’s never been a time when it’s been so important for us to connect with each other. Along with Auckland opening up to the rest of Aotearoa on December 15, there will be huge opportunities for us to get back to doing the things we love over the summer break and in 2022.” 

The Tolu Wave fund will be followed by Fa Wave, the fourth and final initiative, which will focus on developing and strengthening the national ecosystem for Pasifika festivals.

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