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Progress For Pacific Leaders Group

Progress For Pacific Leaders Group

After 10 months of planning the Pacific Leaders Group (PLG) is pleased to announce that its major Pacific Arts Development Centre project will become a reality in the new year. PLG Chair, Nuku Rapana, says the arts centre will be established in the Manukau region in early 2004 and will provide a much needed and long-overdue commercial, artistic, spiritual and cultural base for the Pacific arts community of Auckland.

The rapid progress made by the PLG in developing the Pacific arts centre was made possible by the unique relationship it has with the Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy (AREDS) organisation. The PLG was formed in partnership with AREDS, to ensure that the Pacific community had input into all major regional projects being developed by the local and central government mandated AREDS organisation.

Significant funding has recently been set aside for the establishment of the multi-purpose arts development centre. The PLG has also been working closely with Manukau City Council for several months to identify an appropriate site for the arts centre.

In another major development, AREDS has also established a new Pacific Island Programme Manager position to assist in ensuring that the arts centre is commercially sustainable and achieves its objectives. The newly appointed manager will also provide a strong Pacific Island perspective for the other major projects presently being finalised by AREDS.

PLG Vice Chair, Su'a Viliamu Sio, says robust negotiations over the past four weeks have resolved a recent public dispute between the PLG and AREDS. "We're pleased with the process that we've undergone," says Sio. "The AREDS team listened to our concerns and we were able to come to an understanding with them about future Pacific input into Auckland's economy."

The PLG is now focussed on its arts centre project and in the long-term building of a Pacific tourism cluster, which will include the Pacific Arts Development Centre. "We are grateful that Pacific peoples will be able to have a strong input into the future economic direction of the Auckland region," says Rapana. "We have a huge presence in this region population wise and we are very willing to contribute positively to the future in this region."

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