Radio531 PI Flower Talanoa

Radio531 PI Flowers

Funding paperwork putting off Pacific artists

15 March 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

By Mabel Muller -

Bureaucratic paperwork and complicated bottlenecks to access funding needs to get the chop.

That strong call was one of many by artists attending today's opening sessions of the Pacific Arts Summit in Wellington.

Artists gathered at Te Papa Museum for the Pacific Arts Summit. Photo/ PRN.

The fono rounds off tomorrow and has gathered professionals from all over the country and internationally, to share their skills, experiences and views on how to best support their practice and shape its future.

A young musician and actor from Christchurch and Auckland, Talia-Rae Mavaega says application processes are so complicated it puts them off.

"It's such a process we don't even want to bother with it," she says.

"The generation before us have fought so hard to get us a pool of money that we can dip into but we don't know how to access it and it's like they're making it, on purpose, hard for us to get to."

"It's taking away from our Pasifika work because we have to get back to the white system and do it their way and get their money."

Talia-Rae Mavaega from Christchurch-based theatre company Y|Not. Photo/ PRN. 

Mavaega says funding criteria also limits their craft as creatives.

"The money comes from the big guys, the big corporations with the white men and us as Pacific people and artists don't want to go and ask for the handouts," she says.

"Once they give us their money, it's conditional. So we can use their money to create our work as long as our work does this, this and this, which takes away from the artist's vision."

Financial hardship was another issue raised by artists.

Tongan-Samoan poet Karlo Mila says as a Pacific artist it's hard to "find time dedicated to the crafts" whilst also trying to make a living.

"What would happen if all of the people in this room get full-time jobs as artists? [Imagine] what we would be able to do in the world, right?"

Matua Panel artists: Karlo Mila, Yuki Kihara, Sopolemalama Filipe Tohi, Lemi Ponifasio and Sean Mallon. Photo/ PRN.

Discussions and feedback from the fono will help Creative New Zealand develop a Pacific Arts Strategy for the very first time.

There are hopes among the discussion panels that funding organisations would engage closely with communities and increase awareness of the support that is available.

Strategy facilitator Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann says the richness of the talanoa heard today is incredible and valuable to shaping the future of Pacific arts.