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Avondale Arts Festival set to make its mark

Press Release
2 October 2014

Whau the People by the People: Avondale Arts Festival set to make its mark

New Arts Festival Adds a Fresh Contribution to Auckland’s Creative Scene

One of Auckland’s best-kept secrets is about to explode onto the scene as a part of Artweek 2014. From 16-19 October, the inaugural Whau Arts Festival, a creative extravaganza that will feature everything from music, to theatre, poetry, photography, visual art and sculptural installation, will be held in Avondale, a suburb bursting at the seams with the city’s creative talent.

“The aim of the festival is to showcase and celebrate the creative diversity that exists in our local area,” says Sam Morrison, the Whau Arts Festival Coordinator.

“Avondale is home to a number of New Zealand’s top creatives and this festival has provided many of them with an opportunity to do something on their own turf.”

The idea for the festival came about through the vision of a non-profit arts collective known as Whau the People. Recognising the breadth of creative diversity that exists in their local suburb the group saw an opportunity to bring local artists together to showcase their work and activate the myriad of vacant spaces that litter their suburb, which has long been neglected by Auckland’s policy-makers and political elite.

“As a part of the festival, we’ll be taking over one of the large, vacant lots right in the middle of the town centre,” says Leilani Tamu, a poet and Whau the People member.

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“The plan is to turn it into an Urban Plantation. Transforming and reclaiming a space that has otherwise been neglected for years through artistic installations, exhibitions, workshops and performances.”

“With support from the Whau Local Board, we’re also going to ensure that all of the events are free,” says Jody Yawa McMillan, a visual artist and Whau the People member.

“It’s important that we keep the festival real and honest, staying true to it being driven from the bottom-up. This festival is about including as many members of our community – from all walks of life – as possible. We want it to be community epic, whau the people by the people.”

With a stellar line-up of talent that includes renowned Kiwi artists, writers and musicians such as Fiona Jack, Ross Forbes, Janet Charman, Max White, Will Crummer and the Rarotongans (to name only a few) the Whau Arts festival is set to make a significant and fresh contribution to Auckland’s creative landscape.

*The festival will be opened by the Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown, on Thursday 16 October at 6pm in Avondale town centre. The full festival programme and line-up can be viewed at


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