History of Pasifika
Pasifika Festival began in 1992, and has grown into one of Auckland’s biggest cultural events, celebrating its 21st birthday this year.
Pasifika Festival came to life through a joint initiative venture in 1992 between the then Auckland City Council and the South Pacific Island Nations Development Association. The festival aimed to bring Pacific Island communities closer together and to celebrate the richness and variety of their values, culture and lifestyles. The village concept was introduced in 1998 as a way of demonstrating each Pacific Island’s diversity - the village concept continues to be the core of the event to this day.
History of Pasifika
In 1993, the event incorporated a Pacific Island fashion show and theatre performances. Over 20,000 people attended in only the festival’s second year.
Between 1995 and 2000 an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 people attended each year.
In 2001, a record number of people attended the festival - this included an opening night concert, showcasing the Pacific talent scheduled to perform on the festival day. This initiative won the Creative New Zealand’s Creative Places Award in 2001.
Between 2002 and 2004, community stallholder numbers exceeded 300 for the first time. It’s estimated that over $1 million changed hands during the 2002 festival.
The inaugural Pacific Music Awards were introduced at the Air New Zealand Opening Night Concert in 2005. The awards later went on to thrive as a stand-alone celebration of Pacific musical talent.
2007 celebrated the festival’s 15th anniversary, and Pasifika won the Best Established Event award from NZAEP (New Zealand Association of Event Professionals). This was a true reflection of the efforts of past and present project managers, and the team of community workers and volunteers.
A six-day programme was introduced in 2010 - including a number of ticketed events at other venues, some of the best acts from performer auditions, and 'Po' - a tribal pop opera by Mika.
In 2011 the event was delivered by the newly founded Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) - a council controlled organisation - on behalf of Auckland Council.
2013 and beyond
Western Springs Park is the spiritual home of Pasifika Festival, and the event enjoys a resident population of 10 Pacific Island nations - welcoming tens of thousands of Aucklanders and visitors every year.