Tagata Pasifika

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ATEED responds to community feedback on Pasifika Festival 2021 refresh

Event organisers of Pasifika Festival have responded to recent criticism over the changes to smaller island villages in next year’s festival, saying they are not “downsizing” the event.

Last week ATEED (Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development), the branch of Auckland Council that oversees the Pasifika Festival 2021, announced a new plan that will see a change in the layout of the villages, with some island groups placed into a shared space.

In the Festival Refresh plan, main villages are categorised as Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Niue, Fiji, Aotearoa and ‘More of the Pacific’ – which includes Tuvalu, Tokelau, Kiribati, Tahiti, Solomon Islands and Hawai’i, with opportunities extended to ‘new islands’.

Earlier this week Tuvalu Village Coordinator Molia Alama Tulafono expressed disappointment over the plan.

“There’s a lot of disappointment, discontent, frustration and just really upset people in our community because of that decision made by ATEED to remove the Tuvalu Village and also the other smaller villages and more so merge them into one shared village,” says Tulafono.

However, Pasifika Festival Project Manager Leisa Siteine says they are still going to have 11 villages.

“Really it’s the way that the villages are geographically placed. We want to ensure that they still have their identity and their own space, but we do want to put them in a space where they can share, where they are able to help one another out,” says Siteine.

“The thing that will be reduced is their programming time on the stage. But that is the main area that we looked at that was a challenge for them – that they did come to us and say, ‘This is a challenge for us to be able to programme a full day or two-day festival.'”

Watch the full interview above.

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