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Pacific performance and design on Prague stage

Pacific performance and design on Prague stage

Pacific performance and design will feature for the first time at the prestigious Prague Quadrennial in June 2003 with funding support from the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand.

In its latest project funding round, the Pacific Arts Committee offered a $10,000 grant to Auckland dancemaker and designer Lemisio Ponifasio and architect Albert Refiti to present Pacific performance and design at PQ 03, as the 2003 event is called.

First held in 1967, the Prague Quadrennial is widely regarded as the Olympics of theatre design. Every four years, it attracts designers, architects and theatre practitioners from around the world to celebrate and debate their work.

In 1999, Ponifasio and Refiti were members of the New Zealand design team whose exhibition received the UNESCO Prize for design excellence, creativity and originality. As a spin-off of the 1999 success, Ponifasio was invited to curate an exhibition expressing Pacific design. His Auckland-based performance company MAU has also been invited to perform Bone Flute ivi ivi for five nights during PQ 03.

The exhibition will be an installation, representing Pacific performance and design within the theme of vasa (ocean).

Chair of the Pacific Arts Committee Marilyn Kohlhase says there is a growing international interest in the Pacific and its vibrant artforms.

"This exhibition offers an extraordinary opportunity for a Pacific voice to be heard at a major international forum," Ms Kohlhase said. "The Pacific's unique perspective and approach to performance and design will be part of rigorous, intellectual discussions and debates."

New Zealand theatre design will also be represented at PQ 03 with grants from the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand.

Ponifasio and Refiti's project was one of 31 projects offered grants totalling $147,145. The Pacific Arts Committee received 56 applications for project funding seeking more than $550,000.

"The number of established Pacific artists based in New Zealand is growing and along with greater professionalism, the quality of applications from Pacific artists and organisations has increased," Ms Kohlhase said.

"Unfortunately, the demand on our funds in this round means that a number of worthwhile projects missed out on funding or received significantly less funding than the applicant had asked for."

Another international project providing opportunities for Pacific artists is a public art sculpture symposium, The Real Pacific Solution, to be held in Melbourne in March 2003. Pacific Artspace of Grey Lynn, Auckland was offered a $12,000 grant to bring together up to ten artists from the Pacific region to create a work of art in a public location over a two-week period. New Plymouth sculptor Filipe Tohi is one of three New Zealand Pacific artists who will take part in the event.

Deborah White of Pacific Artspace says the Melbourne symposium will help build relationships between individual Pacific artists and encourage future collaborations.

A project aimed at providing infrastructure and management support to leading hip hop artists competing in local and international music markets was also supported by the Pacific Arts Committee. Heart Music Ltd of Titirangi was offered a $10,000 grant towards the development and rehearsal of live shows by hip hop artists Ermehn, Dam Native, DLT, Khas (aka the feelstyle), King Kapisi and Black Sam. A $20,000 grant to Heart Music Ltd from Creative New Zealand's Arts Board supported the composition and recording of three new albums by Ermehn, Dam Native and Khas.

A $5000 grant was offered to Ta'unga Creative Writers' Society of the Cook Islands towards travel costs for writer Alistair Campbell, who lives in Pukerua Bay near Wellington, to travel to the Cook Islands in 2003 with his biographer Nelson Wattie. Campbell, who is of Cook Islands heritage, will work with local writers while Wattie will conduct research for his biography of Campbell.

Nelson Wattie was also offered a grant of $18,000 from the Arts Board towards writing the Alistair Campbell biography.

As a result of discussions with writers and publishers, the Pacific Arts Committee received 15 applications for literary projects. As well as supporting Play Press of Wellington to publish three plays by Pacific playwrights, the Committee was pleased to support writing projects, including:

$3000 to Sandra Kailahi of Mt Albert, Auckland towards researching and writing a book on Pacific women role models in New Zealand

$2750 to Tusiata Avia of Berhampore, Wellington towards writing and developing a one-woman show involving theatre, poetry and dance, entitled Wild Dogs Under My Skirt.

Applications to the next funding round of Creative New Zealand close on Friday 28 February 2003. Copies of the Funding Guide: Ngä Pütea 2002-2003 are available from Creative New Zealand offices or can be downloaded from the publications page of its website (http://


Following this press release is a description of the 31 projects offered grants.

Pacific Arts Committee project grants

The following is a complete list of grants offered under the Pacific Arts Committee's four funding programmes. These are Pacific Islands Arts Development; Pacific Islands Arts Promotion; Pacific Islands Heritage Arts; and Pacific Islands Tangata Whenua Links.

Pacific Islands Arts Development

$3000 to Giantsquid & Hunter Productions of Newtown, Wellington towards the pre-production stage of a 3D animated, 5-minute film, The Mighty Maui in the Land of Perpetual Fire

$5000 to the Pacific Arts Association towards support for Pacific Islands artists to attend an international, four-day symposium in Christchurch, June 2003. Exhibitions of Mäori and Pacific art at local galleries will complement the symposium.

$3500 to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki towards an interactive installation by Michel Tuffery from 23 November 2002 to 16 February 2003 and a performance at the Gallery on 8 March to coincide with the 2003 Pasifika Festival.

$4000 to Ani O'Neill and Shigeyuki Kihara of Grey Lynn, Auckland towards a fashion show, installation and catalogue

$3000 to Sandra Kailahi of Mt Albert, Auckland towards researching and writing a book on Pacific women role models in New Zealand

$2750 to Tusiata Avia of Berhampore, Wellington towards writing and developing a one-woman show involving theatre, poetry and dance, entitled Wild Dogs Under My Skirt

$4800 to Pacific Rim Collective of Thames towards an audio-visual exhibition by five Pacific Rim artists

$4000 to Flying Jandal Productions of Herne Bay, Auckland towards a workshop to develop a new play, Two Days in a Dream

$10,000 to Lemisio Ponifasio and Albert Refiti of Pt Chevalier, Auckland towards presenting Pacific performance and design at the Prague Quadrennial 2003, an international exhibition of contemporary theatre design

$10,000 to Heart Music Ltd of Titirangi towards the development and rehearsal of live shows by six leading exponents of hip hop

$5000 to Ta'unga Creative Writers' Society of Rarotonga, the Cook Islands towards travel costs for Alistair Campbell to travel to the Cook Islands with his biographer Nelson Wattie and work with local writers

Pacific Islands Arts Promotion

$12,000 to Pacific Artspace of Grey Lynn, Auckland towards a temporary public art sculpture symposium, The Real Pacific Solution, to be held in Melbourne in March 2003. The project will bring together up to ten artists from the Pacific region to create a work of art in a public location over a two-week period.

$1845 to Michel Tuffery of Wellington towards attending an international conference in India

$2500 to New Pacific Underground Society of Christchurch towards presenting a theatre show at the UNESCO Arts Education Conference in Fiji

$3500 to Erolia Ifopo of Wellington towards a performance and presentation on Pacific theatre at two international conferences in Fiji and Samoa

$2625 to the Play Press of Wellington towards publishing a Pacific play, Fresh Off The Boat, by Oscar Kightley and Simon Small

$2625 to the Play Press of Wellington towards publishing two Pacific plays

$10,000 to Wellington Fringe Arts Trust towards the Pacific Islands arts section of the 2003 Fringe NZ Festival

$3000 to Penina Oneonepata of South Auckland towards recording costs of Niuean songs. Penina Oneonepata, a Niuean singing and cultural group, was formed in the 1960s. Although the group no longer performs in public, this project is to burn a master CD of the original songs for preservation and sale.

$6000 to Te Vaka of Waitakere City towards attending the 2002 WOMEX, the World Music Expo in Germany, an event dedicated to world, roots, folk, ethnic, traditional and local music.

$5000 to Auckland City Council towards costs of the Arts Arena Stage at the Pasifika Festival 2003, to be held on 8 March

$9000 to Gregory Semu, an Auckland photographer currently based in Paris, towards exploring new markets in Europe and promotional activities to raise his profile.

$5000 to Makerita Urale of Wellington to screen a selection of New Zealand films and videos by Pacific artists in Samoa in conjunction with a theatre tour of her play, Frangipani Perfume, in December 2002

Pacific Islands Heritage Arts

$3500 to Tuvalu Tau Matua Trust of Waitakere City towards a five-day cultural workshop on crafts, the art of fishing and navigation, traditional dancing, drumming, costume-making, storytelling, history and cooking. Elders will share their knowledge and skills with the rest of the Tuvaluan community in December 2002.

$3500 to Tokelau West-Tugaki of Waitakere City towards cultural workshops, to be held over five Saturdays in November 2002. The workshops aim to promote and maintain the Tokelau culture to the new generation of New Zealand-born Tokelauans living in the West Auckland community.

$3000 to Nor-Western Cook Islands Taokotai Inc of Waitakere City towards a drum and ukelele-making project, undertaken over a six-month period. The project aims to develop skills among Cook Islands youth, teach New Zealand-born Cook Islanders about their cultural heritage and affirm Cook Islands cultural identity.

$2000 to the Cook Islands Community Society of Tokoroa towards a one-week cultural event, bringing together the Pacific communities of Tokoroa. To be held in November 2002, the event will include a preschool cultural festival, learning about the kava ceremony and a Pacific Islands stall day.

$4000 to the Fijian Culture Club of Lower Hutt towards Fijian cultural workshops and attending the Pasifika Festival 2003 in Auckland. This will be the first New Zealand Fijian group to participate in this festival.

$3000 to Lakei Tokelau of Porirua City towards the cost of staging a second Tokelauan fashion show in Porirua in 2003. This will build on the success of its first show, held in 2000 and organised by a group of Tokelauan women aiming to celebrate Tokelau culture through fashion and design.

Pacific Islands Tangata Whenua Links

$5000 to Waimaori Ltd of Hutt City towards four movement workshops, followed by a final hui in early 2003. The project will bring together skilled performing arts practitioners from the Mäori and Tokelauan communities.

$5000 to the Public Dreams Trust of Hastings towards an outdoor performance and workshop by Auckland band Nesian Mystik during the First Night Hastings festival on New Year's Eve 2002. Nesian Mystik will perform a new work, Untouched Pearl of the Pacific, which will be preceded by a workshop for youth.

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