Waitangi Day Festival of the Elements canned
‘‘It's a huge beast [the festival] and a huge amount of work for a rapidly decreasing core group of volunteers’’
After weathering 25 years of celebrations, Porirua’s Festival of the Elements has been cancelled.
Touted as New Zealand’s biggest Waitangi Day celebration outside Waitangi itself, the event that attracted up to 30,000 people had become a victim of its own success, its co-founder said.
Porirua Arts Council founding member Bob Cater said the yearround work of applying for funding had become unmanageable for the group’s voluntary members.
‘‘It’s a huge beast [the festival] and a huge amount of work for a rapidly decreasing core group of volunteers.’’
Cater, who received a Queens Service Medal for his work on the festival, said it continued to grow from its humble beginnings.
‘‘You often felt you were just being dragged along by it as it gathered its own momentum.’’
He wasn’t sure if the Arts Council would allow the trademarked name to be used by anyone else running a Waitangi Day event.
‘‘We’ll have to look at that as it arises.’’
A Porirua City Council spokeswoman said the council would still run a Waitangi Day event but planning ‘‘has yet to occur’’.
‘‘Funding for it will be allocated by the council once details of the event are determined.’’
Arts council chair Judy McKoy said the council gave $55,000 to this year’s festival which cost $175,000 to run.
The council would have difficulty applying for grants and funding because it was a business, not a charity, she said.
Any event put on by council would be vastly different to ‘‘the community-based festival’’.
Porirua mayor Mike Tana ensured the city would still have an event on the same scale as what they were used to.
‘‘It will be the same type of event but the only thing that will change is the name.’’
Ngati Toa spokesman Taku Parai was shocked to hear the festival was cancelled and said iwi would support any attempt to keep it going.
‘‘Any event that brings 30,000 people into a city has got to be good. Why would you knock something like that on the head?’’
Iemina Terawasi, 7, of the St Josephs Kiribati Catholic Community Group at the 2017 festival of the Elements.