Five senior heritage artists from Fiji have spoken of the struggle to hold on to iTaukei cultural practices that communities have lost.
Fijian heritage artists Setareki Laveti, Angelo Smith, Ratu Meli Bulitogalevu, Akanisi Mocesaya and Fijian artist Daren Kamali. Inise Eremasi (far right). Photo/ PRN.
The artists were at the Pacific Arts Summit in Wellington as part of an international exchange by Creative New Zealand.
One of the artists, Inise Eremasi, says losing traditional art will mean losing culture as well.
"They don't keep histories in books written down, they keep it in songs and meke," she says. "If you lose it you lose what the people in the olden days kept."
Heritage and contemporary artists have spent the last two days articulating issues they face as Pacific artists and what they want for their future.
All the feedback and stories will be used by Creative New Zealand to develop a Pacific Arts Strategy for the very first time.
Creative New Zealand says it will continue consultations towards a first draft of the strategy by June.