Te Tai Rāwhiti Arts Festival gets $1.6m boost to budget

By Muriwai Hei

Creative NZ is investing $54 million into its art programme, Toi Uru Kahikatea, to strengthen the arts post-Covid 19 and expand the range of events across the motu.

One of the 58 recipients is Te Tai Rāwhiti Arts Festival, which will receive more than $1.6 million over three years. 

The organiser of Te Tai Rāwhiti Arts Festival, Tama Waipara, says the money will help planning and the profile of Māori arts. He is full of praise and thanks for the funding support of $1.6 million.

“It's a massive milestone for us in a relatively short time since we had our first festival in 2019 and our community has really rallied the kaupapa and I think they're the reason we've had the success we've had,"  Waipara says. 


Boost for the arts in Te Tai Rāwhiti welcomed

The programme is named Toi Uru Kahikatea and will be run over 2023-2025, The Kahikatea investment is focused on contributing to building stronger arts communities, artists, and establishments and helping public engagement in arts.

Waipara says he knows the in and outs of this industry a little too well "and the difficulty of the environment".

"I trained as a classical musician, so growing up in that context and seeing all of this inequality my whole life, has been one of the anchoring reasons why I'm so passionate about things like Tai Rawhiti Arts Festival because I saw this massive inequality and it's something our people by every DNA link to and express as the norm."

This year, Rutene Spooner has returned to the stage for the nation to hear his enthusiastic spirit encouraging the crowd. Many other talents will also gather as well to put on a show to remember once again.

And, as Covid-19 dwindles, there is a lot of excitement within the community as the many talents of Te Tai Rawhiti get ready - this year's Te Tai Rāwhiti Arts Festival runs from October 8-12.