Festival organiser as enthusiastic as ever
Margaret Armour says the relationships in the Porirua community are what make the Festival of the Elements tick.
The event will be held for the 24th time on February 6 since humble beginnings at Aotea Lagoon in 1992. Ten years later, the festival pitched up to Te Rauparaha Park and since then has consistently attracted thousands into the city centre.
Armour, the event coordinator, said applying for funding was one of the necessary evils each year, but there were many upsides to putting such a huge occasion together.
‘‘For me, it’s always been about the process, and I love it,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s a whole year thing, organising the festival, but the relationships you build in the community are priceless. The biggest buzz I get is dealing with people, who want to show off their talent, their art, their food or their music.’’
The festival might run like a well-oiled machine, but Armour said it was important to keep the schedule fresh to entice return visitors.
Next year, a close collaboration with local iwi Ngati Toa will underline the event. A discussion in Pataka – not an academic exercise, Armour insisted – will involve a group of Porirua identities talking about the Treaty of Waitangi and its impact on the city.
Other entertainment locked in for February 6 included performances by Virtuoso Strings and Elena, Wellington supergroup The Eggs, The Ukes of Wellington, an exhibition and workshop of shadow puppets, a sculpture competition using Oamaru stone, jugglers, talent quest and regular activities such as the skate jam and Art Action.
Storytelling sessions with authors Olivia Giles and Apirana Taylor will take place upstairs at Te Rauparaha Arena, and Gary McCormick will show his Bay Boys documentary.
Armour said the programme was nearly finalised and she was eagerly waiting for February 6.
‘‘There is always a brilliant feel to the day and just seeing how the different events engage with young and old is so great. The diversity in Porirua is showcased and you have a carnival feel across the venues.’’
The Festival of the Elements brains trust, from left, Brendan Egan, Margaret Armour, Robin Jones, Bob Cater and Moses Viliamu are working hard on the next festival.