Our Journey

Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival is a legacy born from Te Hā 2019 and Tuia 250 Commemorations in 2019 and has become an annual regional event held in October each year. 

At its conception, the festival aspired to become universally welcoming and inclusive, authentic to our distinct Tairāwhiti whakapapa and lead the world in what it is to connect people to art, culture and ultimately identity. 

Arts is in the blood of all of those in Tairāwhiti. We are born from the sun and the inter-relationship between light and shadow reflects who we are and how we cast ourselves.  

When a festival embraces a place, it shows us to ourselves and turns the volume up on forgotten conversations, exchanges ideas and intent, makes space for new thoughts and seeks to shift and create consciousness. 

Art is intrinsic to our culture – it connects us – and offers the opportunity to galvanize relationships across our many communities, cultures and backgrounds. 

The more we can celebrate convergence, the more we can celebrate connection and the closer we become.  

Delivery of our festival is about how the arts provide a foundation for our reality, that’s much broader than just artistic – it’s social, economic and environmental.