1 Apr 2015

Anger over Pasifika Festival budget cut

11:06 am on 1 April 2015

Auckland Council's events company is being called on to explain why the Pasifika Festival's budget has been cut.

The Pasifika Festival.

The Pasifika Festival. Photo: ATEED

Chair of the Otara-Papatoetoe local board Efeso Collins says the budget has been halved even though the event has been expanded to two days.

He said $350,000 for a festival that draws 80,000 people was a pittance.

Mr Collins said Pasifika communities were angry at being sidelined.

"They're just saying 'we won't go anymore we won't hold our stalls anymore.'"

A traditional Cook Island dance group entertains a large crowd at the Pasifika Festival in Auckland in 2012.

A traditional Cook Island dance group entertains a large crowd at the Pasifika Festival in 2012. Photo: AAP

He said organisational steps need to be retraced so that the festival becomes "the authentic community event that we want it to be."

Chair of the council's arts and events committee Alf Filipaina said the council's events company, Ateed needed to explain.

"If the money's been taken away does that indicate that Ateed don't have much faith in the Pasifika?

"I really don't know the answer to why the funding's been cut and that really needs to be answered."

The crowd at Pasifika Festival in Auckland, 2015.

The crowd at Pasifika Festival in Auckland, 2015. Photo: ATEED

Mr Filipaina said he was worried the Pasifika Festival was becoming too commercial instead of an occasion for Pacific communities to share their cultures with the rest of Auckland.

Ateed said a review of this year's festival will include consultations with the council's Pacific advisory panel, local board members and stallholders.

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