22 Jun 2010

Language seen as key to retain Pacific arts

12:58 pm on 22 June 2010

New research says fluency in Pacific languages is one of the priorities to maintaining healthy Pacific heritage arts in New Zealand.

The finding is in research by Massey University on seven Pacific communities, published by Creative New Zealand.

The chair of CNZ's Pacific Arts Committee, Pele Walker, says art forms like tivaevae and dance are healthy and there has been a revival in traditional arts like tatau or tattooing.

But she says art forms in danger of fading away are storytelling and performing traditional ceremonies.

She says communities said maintaining language fluency is key to keeping knowledge and interest alive.

"Without real knowledge of language, you lose the history, you lose the meaning and you lose the nuance and the deep core as to why things are done that why and why they are important. So that's a challenge. One of the other challenges is access to venues and forum where these old arts can be taught to upcoming generations."

Pele Walker says an arts forum has already been organised for a variety of Pacific artists from all over New Zealand to gather in Auckland at the end of the week.