Leilani Kake and I are due to launch our first collaborative fundraising initiative tomorrow. We’re aiming to raise around NZ$6000 to support our travel and participation in the 11th International Symposium of the Pacific Arts Association in Vancouver, Canada in August. Read more here.

Tomorrow, we launch our crowdfunding campaign via PledgeMe

We chose May 26 to mark the actual anniversary of Fresh Gallery Otara, the community arts facility I managed from 2006-2012 within my previous role of Pacific Arts Coordinator for Auckland Council (previously Manukau City Council). Leilani and I have spent the best part of the past decade working tirelessly to support and contribute to the Pacific arts and South Auckland creative sectors; for most of the time Fresh Gallery Otara was the epicenter of those efforts.

I left the role at Council in 2012 after significant organisational changes compromised my principles as well as what I felt was a level of innovation and service that the South Auckland arts community deserved. Since my departure, I’ve observed further changes that have shifted the Gallery away from its founding philosophies. Since 2006, Fresh Gallery Otara’s anniversary was marked with exhibitions and events that honoured the community, local artists and themes pertinent to Otara. This year there are no such celebrations; the Auckland Triennial‘s presence in Otara is a dislocated exhibition, culturally and geographically isolated from an arts programme that has little to no value for Pacific communities in South Auckland.

Further to that, currently the personnel situated at the public interface of the Gallery represent a heartbreaking level of ignorance for the nuances of arts promotion and discourse within the unique socio-cultural environment of Otara and South Auckland.

Whilst Leilani and I are now both embedded in other pursuits within the education sectors, we remember and acknowledge Fresh Gallery Otara’s role, mana and history, particularly at this time.

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