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Funding awarded for Auckland Matariki celebrations

9 June 2005

Funding awarded for Auckland Matariki celebrations

Matariki celebrations underway in Auckland will receive a boost today as Jim Anderton, Minister for Industry and Regional Development announces funding of $66,150 to help develop the festival in the future.

The funding from the Ministry of Economic Development's Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF) has been awarded to Toi Whenua, a group of arts advisors and managers from four of Auckland's councils, along with a collection of regional organisations with a role in arts promotion.

"Toi Whenua now has support to develop a strategic and professional plan to take the festival to the next level. The first step will be to identify potential economic development opportunities from improved management and promotion of the festival," Jim Anderton said.

The Matariki festival celebrates Maori New Year, which begins when the star constellation Matariki, more commonly known as Pleiades, rises in the sky, during June to July. The first sighting of Matariki is expected this week.

In 2000 there were 7 events in Auckland's Matariki festival. By 2004 the festival had grown to 90 events and over 12,000 people attended.

"The festival has expanded over the years since its promotion began in 2000, but there is a limit to the extent the festival can continue to grow without stepping back to review its future potential.

"The RIF funding will help the organisers develop the festival and enable Auckland to make even greater returns from the annual event through increased tourism, sales of Maori art and improved business and product development skills for participants in the festival organization," Jim Anderton said.

Editors Note

The Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF) is a discretionary fund administered by the Ministry of Economic Development. Each application is sent to the Minister for Industry and Regional Development for approval.

On average 20 projects are funded through the RIF each year. RIF grants range in value between $28,000 to $200,000 with most between $50,000 and $70,000. The majority of RIF grants are paid to territorial local authorities. In some cases, the council holds the money on behalf of groups that are not a legal entity.

Each application is based on partial funding, that is determined on a case by case basis. A 'local contribution' is an essential part of any RIF application.

The RIF provides catalyst funding for regional projects that fall outside the criteria of existing government assistance programmes, but have the potential to leverage economic growth as well as meet government objectives for economic, social and environmental development. A region is defined as a geographical concentration of communities with similar economic, social and environmental characteristics and objectives.

Funding is only paid out on the completion of agreed milestones, and is monitored by the Ministry of Economic Development.

ENDS

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