Fes­ti­val or­gan­iser as en­thu­si­as­tic as ever

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

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.’’

PHOTO: MAG­GIE TAIT

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.

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