Pasifika venue reviewed
THE Pasifika Festival may head to South or West Auckland in the future.
Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairman Efeso Collins is leading talks with Pacific stakeholders about the festival’s direction and is pushing for it to move away from its traditional home at Western Springs.
The discovery of the Queensland fruit fly in Grey Lynn forced a last-minute venue change for this year’s festival to Hayman Park in Manukau.
Collins would now like to see South Auckland host the festival permanently.
‘‘Essentially what [the meetings] will look at is whether the community feel like we’re creating an authentic Pasifika experience through this festival,’’ he says.
‘‘This is the platform for a very wide community review or discussion of how to take this festival forward and I think key to this is us saying: ‘ What will the festival look like in the next 20 years?’’’
Plans are already in place to take Pasifika back to Western Springs next year, Auckland Council events organisation ATEED’s Steve Armitage says.
‘‘This is dependent on the status of the fruit fly exclusion zone which is still in effect in the area surrounding Western Springs Park,’’ he says.
Armitage says feedback from stakeholders, stallholders and attendees is always taken into consideration during the planning for its events and will be for Pasifika Festival 2016.
The Waitemata Local Board is keen to see the festival return to Western Springs, chairman Shale Chambers says.
‘‘Its original and traditional home is Western Springs and it went to Manukau on a temporary basis due to the Queensland fruit fly issue but as far as we’re concerned that’s where it starts and stops,’’ he says.
‘‘It was set up by Auckland City Council not Manukau City Council and we’re very keen as a local board, as we understand is the intention, for it to return.’’
Chambers says Western Springs’ central location makes the event more accessible to all Aucklanders.
‘‘I understand why [the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board] would want that reviewed but, to me, there is a danger in saying that because it’s a Pasifika festival it should be located in South Auckland,’’ he says.
‘‘Certainly that’s a reason but if all of Auckland is going to access it then central obviously has greater accessibility.
‘‘The event has gone from strength to strength in its current location and didn’t need to be located in Manukau in the past to be successful.’’
Collins says there will be two or three meetings with Pacific stakeholders to feed into ATEED’s annual review of the festival.
‘‘One of the key pieces of feedback is it’s opened the door for people in West Auckland to say: ‘Actually we’d like to see it out West’,’’ he says. ‘‘So one of the things that’s being mooted now is, can it travel?
‘‘Is there a way we can get it moving around?’’
Drum Productions owner Stan Wolfgramm was hired by ATEED to produce Pasifika in 2013 and 2014.
But this year the organisation put the event management out for public tender, Wolfgramm says.
‘‘We finished our contract and we wanted to know what the strategy was for the event’s future. The next thing we heard was a request for the proposal going public.’’
He decided against putting in a proposal, saying the outsourcing and the lack of a strategy put him off.
‘‘When I got brought in, the event was losing its identity. I was brought in to bring it back and make it more relevant. I think I achieved that.’’
Dancers entertain the crowds in the Tuvalu Village during Pasifika Festival held at Western Springs in 2014.
Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairman Efeso Collins.
Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers.