OMC, Ardijah, King Kapisi and Annie Crummer are just a few of the names that have come through OMAC - the Ōtara Music Arts Centre, which is celebrating 30 years of fostering musical talent in South Auckland. We take a look back at the centre’s history.
To celebrate 30 years of fostering musical talent in the South Auckland suburb of Ōtara, OMAC (Ōtara Music Arts Centre) has commissioned a series of 30 videos that showcase the centre’s rich history.
The videos, created by OMAC alumnus Faiumu Matthew Salapu - aka Anonymouz, tell the stories of the people involved in the centre’s success, and include never-seen-before material.
The OMAC story begins in the 1970s, when Ōtara was still a young suburb with limited community facilities. The youth who lived there had formed a group - Whaka Hou, which raised enough money to open a youth hall, Te Puke o Tara, which they ran discos and other events from.
When Te Puke o Tara opened, Ōtara’s existing community hall became vacant and in 1980 the Manukau City Council asked the community for suggestions on what to do with it.
In response, the Whaka Hou collective formed a working group - Mahi Whakangahau, which was specifically focused on music. The group petitioned the Council and eight years later OMAC opened its doors as a community arts centre with a performance space, rehearsal rooms, and a state-of-the-art recording studio.
For the first time, top of the line facilities were available to a whole group of talented people who’d never had access before.
Nita Ropata-Riki - a founding member of Whaka Hou - discusses those early days in the first of OMAC’s 30 videos.