Poster for the 1976 New Zealand South Pacific Festival of Arts.

Celebrating Pacific culture for 50 years

The world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific cultures is set to take place in June.

The Festival of Pacific Arts (FestPAC) will see thousands of people from across the region gather in Hawai’i to showcase their traditional arts, crafts, music, dance, and oral traditions.


The roots of FestPAC trace back to the 1970s, following shared concerns between Pacific Island nations over the need to preserve and promote their unique cultural identities. Out of these discussions, the South Pacific Festival of Arts (SPAF) was formed. In 1972 the first SPAF event was held in Fiji, and following its success, a second festival took place in Rotorua, Aotearoa New Zealand in 1976, and was widely televised.

FestPAC today

Today the festival is still hosted by a different Island nation every four years. Now known as FestPAC, it has become a highly anticipated event for both Pacific Islanders and visitors around the world. This year is a milestone marking 52 years of the festival and the return from a brief hiatus since 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, when the festival was last scheduled.

SPAF display

To mark the occasion, the Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound has put together a display of SPAF recordings, programmes and leaflets. You can find the display on Level 3 of Te Herenga Mātauranga Whānui | General Library in June 2024.

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