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Matariki Funding - significant opportunity for AK

MEDIA RELEASE
10 June 2005

Matariki Funding
Marks significant opportunity for Auckland regional growth

The announcement of substantial funding to help expand Matariki Festivals is expected to give a significant boost to its future growth in the Auckland region.

The Minister for Economic and Regional Development, Hon Jim Anderton, yesterday announced funding of $66,150 to further develop the festival.

The Festival marks the Maori New Year, which commences when the star constellation Matariki, more commonly known as Pleiades, rises in the sky. Its first sighting is expected this week.

The funding was achieved through the Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy (AREDS) bringing together territorial local authorities with local Maori groups to facilitate a single regional approach to the Ministry of Economic Development.

AREDS chief executive, Susan Macken, says it is believed this marks the first time local authorities and Auckland Maoridom have worked together in this way.

“We believe the Festival provides an unique opportunity to provide economic benefit for Maori, and, indeed the wider entire business community, in the Auckland region.”

“Growing economic opportunities through building capabilities within the regional creative industries sector for Maori has formed a key component of our strategy for the future overall growth,” Ms Macken said.

AREDS was formed with the specific purpose of stimulating economic growth for the Auckland region. Ms Macken said Maori development had been recognised as a key driver in this strategy.

“The grant is expected to have social, cultural and educational dimensions as well as a direct boost to growing the Festival, and a flow on effect for business in general throughout the region.”

Traditionally Maori would mark the star’s appearance as a time to prepare certain food, assign specific chores and begin certain roles within the community (or hapu). Today Maori groups are using Matariki in a modern context to celebrate music, arts, food and business.

While Matariki is celebrated throughout the country, unique to Auckland will be the diversity of Urban Maori celebration, hapu specific activities with individual and group Maori artists from the creative industries sector launching new forms of art, food, performances, educational programmes, as well as celebrating the Maori new year.

Events around Matariki have expanded exponentially. In 2000 seven events were held, this grew to 90 last year attended by 12,000 people.

This year events will be held within four categories – arts, education, environment, entertainment and will take place throughout this month until 7 July.

“We are delighted that AREDS has been able to facilitate this joint approach to the Ministry for future funding of the Festival. We expect the future of the Matariki Festival in Auckland will now go from strength to strength.

“We believe this regional celebration is set to become an important date on the Tourism Events Schedule and provide another vital tool in growing our local economy.”

For further information about events:
www.matarikifestival.org.nz

ENDS

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