Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Creative New Zealand Announces New Initiative In Partnership With Disabled Pasifika Artists

Two Pasifika artists will lead a new pilot initiative to build stronger pathways to the arts and increase support for the Pasifika Disabled community.

Supported by Creative New Zealand’s Pacific Arts Strategy, 2018 – 2023, The Toa Residency pilot was initiated by and co-designed with Pati Umaga and Pelenakeke Brown – both previous recipients of Creative New Zealand’s Arts Pasifika Toa Award. The residency will support two new projects, exploring how Disabled Pasifika artists can collaborate and connect digitally.

Pati, a celebrated musician and advocate for the disabled arts community, will lead a collaborative digital music project with other disabled vocalists and musicians to produce a recording of new music.

“Having sovereignty and projects led by Disabled artists for Disabled artists is important to creating our own identity, as well as creating opportunities for Disabled artists to lead,” he says.

Pelenakeke, an interdisciplinary artist who has been based in New York, will develop a new work exploring indigeneity and ‘cripness’ across the Digital Moana Nui a Kiva, and how disabled artists connect in times of COVID. The work will be performed virtually and in collaboration with American-Taiwanese artist Yo-Yo Linn.

“Pasifika Disabled artists are a small but growing community in Aotearoa,” says Pelenakeke.

“There are not many identifiable pathways to being an artist, disability-specific funding, or a wider Pasifika community that understands Disability as a powerful identity.”

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The pilot runs from April – December 2022 with a total investment of $75,000.

“We see and we hear our Pasifika Disabled artists – and this new initiative and collaborative approach aligns with our Pacific Arts Strategy, our Diversity Policy and our teu le va cultural approach to adorn the space with our arts leaders to lead and grow their creative work,” said Makerita Urale, Senior Manager, Pacific Arts.

She continues, “I want to thank and acknowledge Pati and Pelenakeke for their courage, passion and leadership to share their lived experiences in art to the world.”

“I am thrilled that we are investing in this strategic new initiative to support Pasifika Disabled artists as we develop as a truly inclusive agency,” says Robyn Hunt, member of Creative New Zealand’s governing body, the Arts Council, and a member of the Arts Council Working Group developing the next five-year Pacific Arts Strategy 2023 – 2028.

The Toa Pilot Residency also connects with the development of Creative New Zealand’s Accessibility Policy, which is focused on Deaf and Disabled artists, arts practitioners and disability audiences and communities. The policy will be developed over this calendar year, working with a Deaf and disability-led Accessibility Reference Group.

The policy aims to ensure Creative New Zealand’s services are fair and equitable, our information and places can be accessed with ease and dignity and that the benefits of the arts we support are available to all New Zealanders.



For media enquiries:

Esther Lees (she/her)

Senior Communications Advisor - Pacific

M:+64 27 404 3209 | DDI: +64 4 498 0745

E: esther.lees@creativenz.govt.nz | W: creativenz.govt.nz

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.