Something has to give
Uncertainty and funding shortfalls have gone hand-in-hand with the staging of Creekfest for some time.
Each year the event is in doubt, yet come a Saturday in March, Cannons Creek Park is buzzing with sweet beats, treats and happy revellers.
It is testament to the tenacity of Porirua Healthlinks Trust executive officer Liz Kelly that each year they have got it done – particularly after Capital & Coast District Health Board cut the trust loose in 2010.
But the challenge this year was too big. The event has been cancelled, though postponed may be a more apt description. Healthlinks is hoping to hold it near the end of 2013 or forge an association with the biennial Porirua Relay For Life.
Good luck to them; the two events would complement each other.
However, Ms Kelly’s laying blame upon members of the Mana Community Grants Foundation for turning down a $29,000 funding application is misguided frustration.
Creekfest organisers would do better to take a reality check and assess why the festival’s financing is such a hard slog year after year.
Post-recession, every community event has faced reduced funding, every funding agency has tighter budgets. Porirua does not have the luxury of Wellington City’s population or resources which can sustain major events every month.
Perhaps staging two large cultural festivals – Festival of the Elements and Creekfest – within six weeks of each other is one too many. The former has not been unaffected by shrivelling funds and has had to downsize accordingly. Healthlinks appears unwilling to take such measures.
What makes Creekfest distinct and vibrant may also provide funding barriers. Its mix of music, sports and health promotion is hard to define or, dare I say, ‘‘brand’’.
What is a health festival? Does the term still encapsulate Creekfest? This pause provides an opportunity to review Creekfest’s identity and objectives, and whether Healthlinks’ reach has been exceeding its grasp.