Some­thing has to give

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

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.

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