Prestigious West Auckland literary festival celebrates 25 years

By Te Ao - Māori News

Auckland's first literary festival is celebrating 25 years this year, with a commitment to four multi-media events over the next four months.  

Going West Festival director James Littlewood says the new format will allow more people to participate in the festival. 

“Over four months from August to November, we have some of the country’s best writers and artists giving oratory, discussion, and performances here in West Auckland,” Littlewood says.

The celebratory event was launched in 1996, aiming to support, celebrate and enable the sharing of writing, performance and cultural kōrero from Aotearoa and the Pacific.

Ngā Kupu Kōrero was the festival's first session back in 1996, and the first words spoken were in te reo, by Ngahuia Te Awe Kotuku. Littlewood told Te Ao Tapatahi today that a little-known performance took place before Ngāhuia’s speech.

"Something happened before she spoke, and that was that Bernard Makoare gave a performance on tāonga pūoro, and that was the first sound anyone heard at that event.”  

The festival kicks off in Glen Eden on August 14.