Nurturing young Pacific artists

posted: 9:05 am - 18th March 2018

With so much focus on encouraging young people into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) subjects and careers recently, achievement in the arts and creative arena does not go unnoticed in the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards.

On March 28, a young Pacific creative will be presented with the prestigious Creative New Zealand and Massey University - Arts and Creativity Award at a ceremony in Auckland.

The award recognises a young person who has demonstrated a significant level of achievement in the arts or creative fields, or has used the arts or creativity to effect change in their community.

Creative New Zealand first came on-board to support the Awards in 2015, and in 2018, the organisation has joined forces with Massey University to sponsor this highly competitive category.

Communications Manager for Creative New Zealand Helen Isbister says supporting the Arts and Creativity Award in conjunction with Massey University is an opportunity for Creative New Zealand to encourage and promote New Zealand’s abundance of young Pasifika creative talent.

 “Creativity is at the heart of successful, strong and prosperous communities and we look forward to seeing the recipient of this award being able to develop their talent and career,” Helen says. 

This year will be the first time Massey University’s College of Creative Arts has supported the Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards.

Senior Adviser of Strategic Partnerships at the College of Creative Arts Sue Elliot says the team there is looking forward to many more years’ involvement, to help grow the Creative Arts category.  

“This categoryfor young Pasifika artists was a perfect fit for us at the College; we recognise the exciting and creative opportunities which exist in providing support for the rich cultural contribution talented young Pasifika leaders can provide to both their communities and Aotearoa New Zealand,” Sue says.

The College also benefits from its involvement in this initiative, she adds.

 “From our base in Aotearoa New Zealand, to produce creative thinkers, makers and innovators who make the world a better place, it make us feel better about living in it.

 “A big part of how we will achieve our vision is to be te tiriti-led and by making a distinctive contribution to Māori and Pasifika creative arts practice.”

 The recipient will receive $10,000 to fund a paid internship or residency with a New Zealand arts or creative organisation, a contribution to an approved arts or creativity-related course of study with Massey University at the College of Creative Arts, or put towards an approved arts or creative project (or a combination of these).

 Sue has been completely blown-away by the high calibre of the entrants in this category, and by the wide variety of creative arts performed or delivered to such an exacting standard, she says.

It is the College’s aim to not be proscriptive about how our award winner might use the award, but rather help them choose the way forward that will be most meaningful to them for progress their work.

 “There is the possibility of continued post-graduate research and learning at the College, or financial assistance for them to grow their existing projects independently.”

 Meanwhile, Jahra “Rager”  Wasasala (pictured) won this category at the last awards in 2016, and she says the fund she received has allowed her to develop techniques and skills she needs to facilitate her own projects successfully and contribute deeply to projects she is involved in.

 “This award grant redefined my creative pathway last year and allowed me to really develop and grow my artistic practice, as well as allow me some incredible opportunities that I would not have had otherwise,” Jahra says.

 The 2018 Prime Minister’s Pacific Youth Awards will be staged on March 28 at Fale o Samoa in Mangere.

 Visit MPP for more information.