20 Feb 2014

Pasifika Festival fails to get arts funding

3:54 pm on 20 February 2014

Auckland's Pasifika Festival has had to drop plans to expand the event after being refused funding by Creative New Zealand for the second year in a row.

The festival on 8-9 March is the biggest Pacific arts event in the country, annually attracting more than 100,000 visitors.

Auckland Council's events company Ateed applied for $65,000 to boost the traditional arts programme and the general manager for major events, Rachael Carroll, says the refusal is disappointing.

Creative New Zealand says it does support Pasifika but had to be pragmatic. Winnie Laban, who chairs the Pacific arts committee, says limited funds were available, and Pasifika already gets $490,000 from Ateed and other sponsors.

Ms Laban says Creative New Zealand has given the festival nearly $300,000 over the years and it's welcome to apply again next year.

The former chair of Auckland's Pacific advisory panel, Uesifili Unasa, says the "very short-sighted" decision overrides assurances given by Creative New Zealand after last year's refusal. He says it appears the agency wants nothing to do with the festival and expects the Auckland Council to fund it entirely.