Delegation For 2024 Festival Of Pacific Arts Announced By Creative New Zealand
Aotearoa New Zealand will be represented by 85 artists and performers at the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts (FestPAC) to be held in Honolulu, Hawai’i in June 2024. The delegation’s expertise spans 11 art forms, representing various iwi from across the country and six Pacific nations. New Zealand is one of 28 Pacific nations participating at FestPAC.
New Zealand’s participation aligns with its commitment to address critical issues, advance CITES, safeguard endangered art forms, promote career growth for artists, strengthen partnerships, address climate change, and amplify youth voices. This delegation managed by Creative New Zealand/Toi Aotearoa, promises to showcase the artistic heritage of Aotearoa and the Pacific on a global stage.
“We’re excited about the delegation that will showcase ngā toi Māori and contemporary Pacific art in Aotearoa to the world at FestPAC 2024,” says Bonita Bigham, co-Head of Delegation and co-Chair of the Arts Council’s Kōmiti Māori. Bonita shares the Head of Delegation role withKōmiti Māori co-Chair Kura Moeahu.
FestPAC is the world’s largest celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders, drawing artists, cultural practitioners, scholars, and officials from member nations of the Pacific community. It has been running since 1972, initiated by indigenous leaders and communities around Te Moana Nui a Kiwa, to revitalise traditional arts practices through cultural exchange.
The theme for FestPAC is ‘Regenerating
Oceania Ho’oulu Lāhui’, as set by Kānaka Māoli hosts
in Hawai’i. Hawai’i was set to host the event in 2020
but the Covid pandemic saw its postponement. The recent
catastrophic fires on the island of Maui were cause for
further reflection, however Aotearoa is responding to a
strong call from Kānaka Māoli to still be present.
The vision for the New Zealand delegation focuses on uniting treasures and people to Hawaiki –’ He Herenga Kura, He Herenga Tāngata ki Hawaiki’. It’s theme, ‘Taku Hoe’, aims to unite talent and mana across the ocean as paddlers, navigators, and guardians of indigenous knowledge.
The delegation is also shaped by the Waka ceremony that opens the festival and the Youth Ambassador Leadership programme.
“We’ve selected two rangatahi as our youth ambassadors, both remarkable young people who are already making their mark as artists and leaders,” said Kura Moeahu. “As well as looking back across our time-honoured Pacific ways of being, FestPAC also looks toward a sustainable future. The Youth Ambassador programme helps our rangatahi make connections as they face the challenges to come.”
Māori Performing Arts will take centre stage at the event, with Te Whānau-ā-Apanui being the current winners of Te Matatini, the full kapa will engage in various festival-aligned events and New Zealand Arts delegation outcomes.
Traditional waka practices will play a significant role in the festival, with host country, led by Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr, working with local communities in Hawai’i who lost their waka due to the Maui fires.
Other traditional Māori arts represented in
the delegation include tāonga pūoro, (musical
instruments), raranga (weaving), whaikairo (carving), uku
(pottery), and tā moko.
Contemporary Māori and Pacific artists in the delegation exemplify excellence in many forms, including theatre, dance, literature, visual arts, and multi-disciplinary arts.
New Zealand has been represented at each of the four-yearly festivals since the inaugural event in 1972 and hosted in 1976. The 2024 event marks the first since it was hosted by Guam in 2016.
Creative New Zealand supports the delegation with travel and living costs while in Hawai’i and provides some project funding.