Standing out from the large crowd at Westfield Style Pasifika’s first show last night was a group of very excited local talent.
Decked out in leis, the Year 10 and 11 Pasifika students were part of a select group, nominated by their schools for excellence in an arts subject, such as dance, English, fashion, art, or photography.
As one of the sponsors of the event, AUT University wanted to reach out to the local community and ensure that local creative talent was given the opportunity to learn from the best.
The University organised a full evening’s entertainment for the students, starting with a lei-making workshop at the AUT Manukau campus, run by the Lil Mama’s Collective, themselves recent AUT Design School arts graduates now working in the Graphic Design, Visual Arts and Spatial Design industries.
Students and their caregivers were able to make their own leis, with the winners being awarded an original Lil Mama’s artwork. The students were then taken from the AUT Manukau campus to the Westfield Style Pasifika show, decked out in their colourful leis.
“It’s a common perception that the show is out of reach for many people, because of the ticket prices,” says AUT’s Regional Account Manager (Manukau), Gareth Dyer. “We wanted to bring young Pasifika people back to the show, engage with local families and make the best of Pacific art, fashion, dance and music accessible for them.”
Amelia Kula, a Year 11 student, was nominated for the event by her fashion teacher at Mangere College. “I was shocked when I found out I was going to the show. Now I'm here I feel really excited, because I've never been to the show before, so this will be my first time. I'm not sure what to expect, but I'm sure it will be good. I'm looking forward to the performances."
AUT University works extensively with secondary schools and communities to inspire and guide students into successful creative careers. This is the third year the University has been a sponsor at the event.