The Festival of the Pacific Arts & Culture or FESTPAC that was to be held in Hawai'i in June has been postponed due to growing global concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.
Organizers made the announcement to postpone the 11-day international event in a statement today stressing the priority of health and safety for Hawaiʻi residents and for all festival participants, and will continue to monitor developments surrounding COVID-19. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi.
65 artists representing 27 projects from Aotearoa NZ have been selected to attend, including current kapahaka world champions Ngā Tūmanako.
Hawaiʻi will remain the host for the 13th FESTPAC; however, rescheduled dates will be forthcoming. In the meantime, the FESTPAC Commission will continue its work planning for the historic occasion.
“FESTPAC planning will continue in order to ensure that Hawaiʻi is prepared to be an outstanding host to our Pacific Island cousins and all who participate in this life-changing event,” said Senator J. Kalani English, FESTPAC Hawaiʻi Chairman.
FESTPAC is a traveling festival hosted every four years by a different nation, bringing together 3,000 delegates and cultural practitioners from throughout the pacific. New Zealand has sent a delegation to every festival since the first South Pacific Arts Festival was held in Fiji in 1972.
It was started by the Pacific Community as a means to stem erosion of traditional cultural practices by sharing and exchanging culture at each festival. Only one festival has been postponed since its inception – the 1984 festival slated for New Caledonia was postponed one year and relocated to French Polynesia due to political unrest.