Posts tagged ‘Otara’

Samoa mo Samoa (2004) by Genevieve Pini

Samoa mo Samoa (2004) by Genevieve Pini, 290x195mm, edition of 3, signed inkjet prints on Hahnemühle Matt FineArt paper. Framed NZ$200 / Unframed NZ$160.

Having studied jewellery, garment construction and photography, Genevieve Pini’s interdisciplinary art practice reflects family, feminism and bloodlines between Otara and Samoa. I spoke to her briefly about her work, Samoa mo Samoa in “That’s not Pacific Art”, the second exhibition in the PIMPI Winter Series

Samoa mo Samoa is a photograph you made in 2004, what is it about and where was taken? 

Samoa mo Samoa means Samoa for Samoa, it’s the motto of the Mau Movement. Just seeing it in South Auckland made me open my eyes a bit about how we relate to our history, being where we are.

I didn’t do the tag, but I liked the politics of it… it was a good feeling seeing it on Othello shops in Otara (heart of South Auckland), I was just waiting for the bus when I saw it. It’s about claiming space, and it was up there for ages. It made me think, where is the place of our histories in our everyday life in New Zealand? It’s in the people.

“Fa’amalu” (2004) by Genevieve Pini

Otara and Samoa are significant anchors in your life and art practice, something strongly present in your work based on the process of getting your malu in 2003. I know it was a significant juncture in your life; it bonded your blood to this land, and your present (and future) to your past, Samoa to Otara. I’ve always loved how your photograph, Fa’amalu, captures the moment of excitement and intrigue before you got tattooed, how did your malu change your life and outlook?

Watching my dad going through his pe’a, the sight of seeing his blood, thinking ‘oh my god, that’s my dad, doing his thing for his family’. My dad, comes from Samoa, lives in Otara, does all this stuff for his family… working, sending money back home, keeping traditions alive.

I feel proud. And of course a certain obligation to do my part through art. I know from experience that my art doesn’t financially support my family’s Samoan fa’alavelaves and stuff but as long as I can represent them the best way I know how, I love doing art.

My malu gives me a sense of pride, knowing that my family are behind me and supporting me. When you get down to it, it represents love.

What does Samoa mo Samoa mean to you today?

It means family, love, respect… there are so many layers to this. The past, present and future, a sense of place. I have a place here…

 

That’s not Pacific Art
6-22 August
Featuring Faafeu Kapeneta, Ana Lakusa, Qingze Nan and Genevieve Pini.

Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio is located at 159 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland. Open Mondays from 9am-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-7pm. Barber and tattoo appointments and enquiries: / bigwillie.barber.tattoo.studio@gmail.com

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Vineyard (2015) by Faafeu Kapeneta

Faafeu Kapeneta presents three striking new photographic works in That’s not Pacific Art, the second exhibition in the PIMPI Winter Series opening Thursday 6 August at Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio. I asked him about that Tongan vineyard life…

Thank you for being the only South Islander in the PIMPI Winter Series! How did you end up living and working in Marlborough and how long have you been there?

Thank you Ema for the opportunity. Long story short, my family moved to Marlborough after visiting relatives for Christmas in 2005. We have been living here for nearly 10 years now after moving away from Wellington. I’ve  been here for about a year and a half now.

The Marlborough region conjures up images of quintessential New Zealand landscapes and vineyards… the stuff of tourism billboards. Whilst Otara, South Auckland is perhaps the polar opposite of that world, there’s a similarity in the work you’re making now compared to what you made whilst living here during your degree studies. What are the things you like to capture that exist in both these disparate spaces?

I like the documentary approach to photography because I want my work to be raw and honest as it can be by not distracting the frame, purely observing and recording moments that gives people a very different Marlborough, a more grounded look at people who live and work here and not just the beautiful landscapes that the region is renowned for.

I’m thinking good jobs and limited big city distractions make working in Marlborough a pretty worthwhile opportunity for a lot of Pacific Islanders. What do you see as the benefits of working and living there, and are there things you miss or long for?

The most common thing that attracts a lot of Pacific Islanders to Marlborough was and still is the vineyard business. There are other jobs here and there but we, as Pacific Islanders living in Blenheim are renowned to be working out in the vineyards. In Marlborough, being a hot spot for tourism, you’ll likely see and meet a lot foreigners who come here for labour work. One of the benefits of living in Blenheim that I realised after moving back here was how it reminded me of my village in Tonga; countryside, quiet and slow pace lifestyle as opposed to the fast pace and noisy Auckland. There are couple of things I do miss though; the takeaways, access to Pacific Island foods such as taro or cassava and the Pacific art scene.

I’m so happy that this opportunity has inspired you to make some new work, I love what it adds to this exhibition, and to the wider PIMPI Winter Series. I’m wondering, what kind of things are on your art bucket list? What would you love to shoot, where would you love to show your work, and what kind of impact would you like your work to have?

In the near future I want to document some of the groups of Pacific Island workers who come here on a 3-6 months working Visa in the vineyards. I’m starting to look at landscape photography, and I’ve met quite a few foreigners and want to do some work with them. I want document other Pacific Island communities in other towns in the South Island and would love to show that work in South Auckland because I want people to know we exist and that you can make a good living in the smaller towns in the South Island.

That’s not Pacific Art
6-22 August
Featuring Faafeu Kapeneta, Ana Lakusa, Qingze Nan and Genevieve Pini.

Big Willie Legacy Barber & Tattoo Studio is located at 159 Mt Eden Road, Mt Eden, Auckland. Open Mondays from 9am-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday from 9am-7pm. Barber and tattoo appointments and enquiries: / bigwillie.barber.tattoo.studio@gmail.com

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I made an experimental art publication called Art Takeaway 10 years ago

It was the first project I produced in Otara, for Otara, in a way my first ‘exhibition’, definitely the first time I secured funding, and the first time I publicly declared my slightly bumbling position and thinking about art, audiences and site specificity. It was black and white and featured photography and page works by 10 artists. I launched it at the Otara Market on July 9, 2005, which attracted the attention of TVNZ’s Tagata Pasifika, who did a slightly bizarre story on the project, thankfully before the days of YouTube.

After participating in Papakura Art Gallery’s Ako Art Bus Tour this week, an initiative supported with funds from Papakura Local Board for the Auckland region-wide Matariki Festival, I got to thinking about the values of community arts and participation, empowering audiences and the different ways engagement is measured. I’m writing about these themes for an upcoming essay that’ll be published during the Whau Arts Festival, an excellent site-specific community-driven programme supported by the Whau Local Board.

I found my only copy of Art Takeaway the other day. The first page features this imagined conversation between time and space…

 

Art Takeaway Ta-Va, Ema Tavola 2005

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I STAND WITH YOU is a project developed by Luisa Tora, a third year Visual Arts student at Manukau Institute of Technology Faculty of Creative Arts in Otara, South Auckland.

Marking International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), the project features 13 artworks produced as posters for display at both the Faculty of Creative Arts and in a pop-up exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara from 12-17 May, 2014.

I’m pleased to have partnered on this important project along with the Faculty of Creative Arts, Fresh Gallery Otara and FAF SWAG. The artists involved have produced an excellent body of work; they represent students, staff, alumni and friends of the Faculty of Creative Arts, each with a unique relationship to South Auckland.

I’ll be speaking as one of seven quick-fire lunchtime artist talks on Tuesday 13 May from 12.30pm at MIT Faculty of Creative Arts, 50 Lovegrove Crescent, Otara, South Auckland – all welcome! The project’s other public event is a lunchtime panel of LGBTQI youth service providers on Thursday 15 May at 12.30pm. On the actual IDAHOT day, Saturday 17 May, artists, friends and family are invited to morning tea at Fresh Gallery Otara at 11am.

The posters are not for sale, but check out the project’s website and contact page for enquiries.

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Photo by Ema Tavola

The OTARAcube is a permanent exhibition space in the Otara Town Centre; it is a 10×10 foot customised container gallery managed by Manukau Institute of Technology Faculty of Creative Arts developed with support from the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board.

A week-long event called Proudly Otara is taking place in the Otara Town Centre this week and to mark the occasion, I’ve installed a quick pop-up exhibition showcasing photos, posters, fliers and artwork from community art events that have taken place in and around the Otara Town Centre over the past decade. The material is from both my own and Fresh Gallery Otara’s archives; the Gallery’s programming since 2006 is well represented, but there is also material from Fresh Gallery Otara’s predecessor, Artnet Gallery, which ran up until 2004 and was managed by Wahine Malosi Charitable Trust. Artnet Gallery was where I cut my teeth as a curator; it was a foundation that embedded a sense of community arts service delivery and relational accountability deep into my psyche.

This past week, I was interviewed by Justin Gregory for Radio New Zealand’s weekly arts programme, Standing Room Only. In January, I presented some concerns to the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board of Auckland Council regarding the exhibition programming at Mangere Arts Centre, a community arts facility in the Mangere Town Centre. I’m concerned with the disconnect regional arts programming has with local communities under the unitary Auckland Council and that there are no public opportunities for feedback or dialogue between those who produce local arts programming and the audiences they supposedly serve. The Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board were responsive to the concerns I raised saying that similar sentiments were felt both within the Board and from community members; they planned to follow up with Auckland Council’s Arts and Culture unit to respond but as yet, I’ve heard nothing. The Manukau Courier published a story and since then, I’ve received a huge amount of support from South Auckland residents who believe strongly in what was said.

Radio New Zealand’s story was aired on Sunday 23 March and features comments from Hanna Scott, Arts and Culture Programmes manager for Auckland Council:

[audio http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/sro/sro-20140323-1245-local_galleries_and_the_community-00.ogg|titles=Local Galleries and the Community, Standing Room Only, Radio New Zealand, 23 March 2014]

Interestingly, I listened to this whilst installing the Proudly Otara exhibition at the OTARAcube. Whilst the exhibition only represents a sliver of the arts and cultural events and activities that have happened in and around the Otara Town Centre since 2003, there is an overarching theme of community accountability and ownership. The voice and visibility of community aspiration and pride is at the forefront of what I’ve been fortunate enough to produce and be involved with during my time here in Manukau, South Auckland. For people who live and work here, a connection to this community is not as simple as catching a “South Auckland bus” (Hanna Scott) and relational accountability is demonstrated in action, not just words.

I’m happy that from a blog, which led to a presentation to the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board, that inspired a story in the Manukau Courier, a national radio discussion about Auckland Council’s accountability to the Mangere and wider Manukau community has happened. I’m also developing an article for an upcoming issue of The Vernacularist on the theme of community and relational accountability – watch this space!

Proudly Otara starts today in the Otara Town Centre and this morning, Toakase Women’s Group have presented an impressive display of Tongan hand-crafted adornment. There are performances, displays and activities scheduled for the Otara Town Centre stage areas throughout the week; check out the Otara Business Association Facebook page for more details.

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The first three exhibitions I’ve visited this year have got me thinking…

Waikato-based visual artist Margaret Aull (Te Rarawa, Tūwharetoa, Fiji) presented her Master of Fine Arts graduating work this week at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design in central Auckland (read more here). Cook Islands choreographer Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French has curated an impressive exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara, and down the road at Mangere Arts Centre, there’s a long summer exhibition called Agiagiā, which is a Samoan title for an exhibition on the late Pākehā artist, Len Lye.

In the way that so many conversations in the diaspora about Pacific art and artists reflect and respond to colonisation, these exhibitions highlight three notions of cultural exchange. The artists critique and respond to the interface of coloniser and colonised, where cultures blend and bleed into each other. Consciously and unconsciously, the exhibitions present commentary on reciprocity, loss, protocol and power.

The entrance to Margaret Aull’s installation, entitled Rules of Engagement, was symbolically lowered. It required audiences to stoop upon entering the space, responding to the Fijian protocol of lowering one’s head as a gesture of respect and deference when in the presence of a chief (traditionally), entering a room or when passing in front of seated people. The installation is the outcome of Aull’s investigations into the notion of tapu, something she describes as “an indigenous liminal space… [existing] by way of knowing and doing, and activated when acknowledging the unknown.” (Rules of Engagement Through The Notion of Tapu catalogue, © Margaret Aull)

The audience experience of this work is an awkward maneuvering around large-scale objects, precarious mirrors and two slightly manic eyeballs. The installation is loaded with Maori mythological symbolism and rooted in Aull’s personal enquiry informed by her dual heritage.

Choreographer and Cook Islands tamure dancer, Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French has curated an exhibition entitled, The Pacific Muse: The Art, The Dance. It consists of documentation of her ongoing performance piece, The Pacific Muse, from its original presentation during the 2011 Pacific Dance New Zealand Choreographic Lab to Auckland’s 2013 Tempo Dance Festival. From its most recent presentation, a series of stunning staged photographs were produced and are presented as relatively large-scale prints.

Central to the exhibition is the display of the costumes designed and constructed by Valentina Serebrennikova in consultation with French. They are hauntingly beautiful and feel worn, as in imbued with the dance and French’s ongoing research into  Pacific female body politics, stereotypes and the legacy and effects of colonisation.

Mangere Arts Centre’s summer exhibition, Len Lye: Agiagiā runs for three long months, an exhibition timeframe better suited to large public institutions and museums rather than community galleries. Len Lye was a New Zealand artist known for his innovative experimental film practice; co-curator, James Pinker states in the exhibition’s media release that “Lye was one of the first Pākehā artists to appreciate indigenous cultures around the world.” *side-eye*

The galleries are painted black. The exhibition consists of framed drawings, kinetic sculptures and videos. Whilst there is a lengthy introductory wall text, the exhibition lacks any interpretive text and moving throughout the space, my guest and I felt detached and emotionless at the lack of information and assumed importance of the works. Whilst a museum has a duty to inform and educate its customers, galleries seem to have less accountability for an exhibition’s transmission, a problematic dynamic in the case of a ratepayer-funded community gallery.

Len Lye’s notoriety as an artist is not common knowledge even amongst arts educated audiences; the value of his work is not mutually translatable. He used Pacific imagery in some of his work, and the exhibition has a Samoan title, but the relevance to the Pacific, and potentially Pacific Island audiences, is superficial. Mangere Arts Centre’s audiences are diverse but I find it frustrating that a publicly funded community gallery clearly prioritises for industry and academic audiences before considering the experience and expectations of its local community.

Whilst attendance numbers and mainstream media reviews will translate to bureaucratic boxes ticked, measuring engagement rarely reflects the reality of disengagement. Mangere Arts Centre doesn’t have a suggestions box and there are rarely opportunities to provide feedback on their programming. I’m not alone in wishing that such a well-equipped facility and resource could better serve the community and context it sits within; disappointment and frustration is evident at a community level, but rather than complain, people just don’t go back.

So, 2014 – here we go, here’s to another year of art projects and real talk!

 

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FRESH ART MARKET is a lively pop-up market day presenting a diverse range of creative practice and free public programme events at South Auckland’s notorious Fresh Gallery Otara!

The event draws together a diverse range of creative practitioners from fine artists to activists, object makers and writers to fashion designers. With everything priced to sell, FRESH ART MARKET is an ideal one stop shop for conscious, hand-made, locally designed gifts and treats!

Stall holders include: Czarina Wilson Design, Leah Espie Photography, Tui Gillies, Luisa Tora and Molly Rangiwai-McHale, Tepora Malo, The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs and more!

Throughout the day, a series of public programme events will take place alongside the Market:

From 9-10am, join visiting arts manager, Dian Ika Gesuri for an inspiring discussion on what Auckland can learn from harnessing creativity, community, collaboration, innovation and commerce, introducing some amazing models of creative entrepreneurship that contribute to social change in the city of Bandung, Indonesia.

At 11am, check out a series of short films including Luisa Tora’s “Home Videos” (2013) and join the film makers for a Q&A.

From 1-2pm, exhibiting artists Sam Afu and ‘Ahota’e’iloa Toetu’u are delivering a free painting workshop inspired by their current exhibition, Ua gau le sila, tuku ki Manono on at Fresh Gallery Otara until 21 December.

Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for updates and specials or send us an enquiry here:

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October has been a bit amazing

Since September I’ve been coordinating OTARAfest, a new annual event programme produced by Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) Faculty of Creative Arts; it ran from 18 October – 2 November and the inaugural programme included 11 stand-alone events delivered in and around the Otara Town Centre.

With a focus on revitalising the Otara Town Centre and creating opportunities for artists and the wider community to meet, share and reflect on contemporary art, talent and creative energy emanating from the local environment, OTARAfest was a refreshing and hugely rewarding project to be part of.

The programme was officially launched at the opening of Fresh Out of School, an exhibition at Fresh Gallery Otara featuring six new graduates from the outgoing Bachelor of Visual Arts degree programme offered at MIT Faculty of Creative Arts. The opening was a celebration of achievement for the students involved; we wanted to emphasise their commitment and hard work, and their new beginnings as qualified visual artists. The Gallery was filled with family and friends, music was provided by DJ Al’Goodie, a well-respected local DJ and radio personality and slow-cooked pork sliders, raw fish and smoked salmon bilinis were served courtesy of Lissy’s Kitchen.

Desire2Inspire, a local arts collective performed at the OTARAfest launch. With all its members currently engaged in youth work and related training, the two skits they presented were informed by lived realities for young people in South Auckland; managing peer pressure, the influences of drugs, alcohol and suicide, and the healing potential of faith and fellowship. I was so moved by their performances, their involvement and interest in the OTARAfest programme; it brought the community back inside the walls / windows of Fresh Gallery Otara and served as a reminder of the consciousness a local community art gallery should reflect.

OTARAcube was a new exhibitions concept that unfortunately launched two weeks behind schedule, meaning a performance work due to take place in the first weekend of the programme was sadly cancelled. However, its better-late-than-never arrival enabled the launch of its inaugural exhibition featuring Tongan artist sisters, Vea and Emily Mafile’o. The opening of their multimedia installation coincided with a special gathering of the Tongan art collective, No’o Fakataha at Fresh Gallery Otara on Friday 1 November.

An initiative of MIT Faculty of Creative Arts with support from the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board, the OTARAcube started life as a 20 foot shipping container; its design and customisation was undertaken by Nigel Burton (DVANZ). Now a permanent fixture in the Otara Town Centre, OTARAcube is located in the area between the Bus Depot and the taxi stand; site specific exhibitions and experimental art projects are planned to turnover on a roughly monthly basis.

OTARAfest provided a platform for a series of gathering and networking events, one of which heralded the beginning of the South Auckland Young Artists Network (SAYAN), a new movement based on the successful Youth Arts Committee at central Auckland community art centre, Artstation. SAYAN will meet fortnightly at Fresh Gallery Otara, contact Kirstin Whalen to go on the mailing list.

South Auckland Theatre Collective presented their first production, My Life, My Story, My South Auckland and got this sweet review, the wonderful P.O.T Productions delivered a beautiful re-worked and site-specific version of Pukepuke ‘O Tonga and OTARAwindow, a series of three outdoor window boxes on the exterior wall of Otara Family & Christian Health Centre, featured the work of Luisa Tora for the duration of OTARAfest.

I enjoyed so many facets of project managing this event programme, but one event in particular was an absolute career highlight. I had the privilege of working again with Tanu Gago, co-founder of FAF SWAG, a collective that advocates, promotes and endorses youth voices from South Auckland’s Pacific LGBTQI communities. Inspired by the American documentary film, Paris Is Burning, the first FAFSWAG Ball aimed to create a competitive platform centralising talent, performance prowess and safety in an accessibly priced, event experience unique to South Auckland.

The FAFSWAG Ball was affirming, electric, covered in glitter and tear-inducingly empowering!

As of 24 hours ago, I’ve also officially completed all the required outcomes for my Master of Arts Management degree at AUT University and I’m so relieved! I’m deeply thankful to my partner, my friends and family for helping me study and endure the financial hardship of committing to full-time postgraduate study, and especially to my mother, who has listened, advised and encouraged me to not give up, thanks Mum!

This weekend I’m showing two works in the annual King’s College Fine Art Sale and on Sunday I’ll be delivering a talk on Pacific art making and appreciation in South Auckland from 12.45pm, click here for more details.

Check out this track by Otara artist, Beelah – it is the soundtrack of Vea and Emily Mafile’o’s OTARAcube exhibition and was shot and recorded right here in Otara – love it!

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For the past month, I’ve been coordinating a public events programme called OTARAfest on behalf of the Faculty of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology here in South Auckland. It falls under the umbrella of Auckland Council’s Southside Arts Festival but as a point of difference, OTARAfest is positioned to benefit, speak to and engage Otara and South Auckland audiences first and foremost.

The newly refurbished Fresh Gallery Otara is the centre of the OTARAfest programme. The Gallery’s large open space will be used for gatherings, performances and a workshop on professional exhibition practice. Two new outdoor exhibition platforms will also be formally launched during OTARAfest; the OTARAcube – a 10×10 foot customised container located in the Otara Transport Precinct, and OTARAlights – a series of five light boxes installed in the vicinity of Fresh Gallery Otara.

Pulling together the programme for OTARAfest has been a nostalgic and heartwarming experience; so much of it reminds me of the South Auckland Pacific Arts Summit. Having worked, lived and studied in and around Otara for the past decade, it is familiar territory; there is an accountability that comes with connectedness.

OTARAfest is largely funded with the agenda of revitalising the Otara Town Centre; all but one of the events are free and many are purposefully integrated into everyday life, using outdoor and community spaces as well as the significant audience of the weekly Otara Flea Market.

I appreciate site-specificity and social, historical and political consciousness as key considerations in event delivery. I’m also excited about the new direction of MIT Faculty of Creative Arts and so pleased that its geographic and cultural context is informing and inspiring a new consideration of the value of arts education in South Auckland. Read more from Grant Thompson, Executive Dean – MIT Faculty of Creative Arts.

OTARAfest launches at Fresh Gallery Otara from 6pm on Thursday 17 October at the opening of Fresh Out of School, an exhibition featuring six new graduates from MIT Faculty of Creative Arts. All welcome!

Read more about OTARAfest events here

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Media Release

23 July 2013

South Auckland Community First In Line For International Art Talks

The local South Auckland community will be the first to hear local arts leaders present papers due to be delivered at the Pacific Arts Association’s International Symposium in Vancouver next month with a special preview evening to be held in Otara at the end of July.

After months of selling hand-printed t-shirts, an art auction selling works donated by local artists and a PledgeMe campaign taking place to fund the trip to Canada, Leilani Kake, Ema Tavola and Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai are giving the local community that has both inspired their papers and made the trip possible the first opportunity to hear their presentations.

Ms Tavola says that she is looking forward to sharing her ideas with the local arts audience.

“My art career was established in Otara; presenting my paper here first reflects the kaupapa of putting Otara and the Pacific at the centre of what I do.”

Ms Kake, a video installation artist and educator, will be talking about her chosen creative discipline in Pasifika Obscura: Pacific Video Art from New Zealand. Ms Māhina-Tuai, a curator and writer, will discuss The Mis-Education of Moana / Pacific Arts and Ms Tavola will reflect on her years of experience in curating exhibitions for Fresh Gallery Otara in Pacific Art for Pacific Audiences: Grassroots Curating in South Auckland.

Each presentation will last around 15 minutes, with time after each for the audience to offer feedback and suggestions.

Event details

What: Pacific Arts Association International Symposium Paper Preview Evening

When: Wednesday 31 July, doors open at 6.30pm, 7pm start

Where: Otara Scorpions Rugby League Clubrooms, Ngati Otara Park, cnr Alexander Crescent and Otara Road, Otara

Cost: $5 at the door + sausage sizzle

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