25 Jun 2012

120 Maori and Pacific artists leave NZ for Festival of Pacific Arts, a trip that's costing $500,000

8:24 am on 25 June 2012

One-hundred and twenty Maori and Pacific artists leave Whenuapai airbase this morning to represent New Zealand at the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts in the Solomon Islands.

The national arts development agency,Creative New Zealand, is spending half a million dollars on the trip which is led by its Maori arts board, Te Waka Toi.

Te Waka Toi's chairman and delegation leader, Darrin Haimona, says it's money well spent for such a prestigious festival.

"We're showcasing our cultural arts, visual arts, our kapahaka performing arts, carving, whakairo, all the traditional artforms. As well as theatre and music, contemporary and traditional artforms."

The two-week festival runs from July the first and the Maori Affairs Minister, Pita Sharples, will join the New Zealand delegation for the opening.