Pasifika beats, arts, culture and talent will be seen and heard around Auckland over the next two weeks during the Urbanesia festival, which starts today.
With more than 70 events around the city, the festival features theatre performances, visual arts and film, music and dance.
Urbanesia was born out of the highly successful Southside Festival - an event that focused on showing off the arts and musical talents found in South Auckland. Run by Auckland Council, it comes off the back of other big-time Pacific events such as the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs and the Auckland Secondary Schools' ASB PolyFest.
Council arts and culture manager Kaye Glamuzina said Urbanesia provided another opportunity for people to connect with all things Pacific.
"Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world and Urbanesia is all about highlighting Aucklanders' special relationship with the Pacific and expressing the diverse urban landscape of the city we live in."
The festival kicks off tonight with Urbanesia in the Gardens at the Nathan Homestead in Manurewa, with Kiwi Pacific musos Erakah, Donnel Lewis, Cydel and TJ Taotua among the line-up.
Highlights in this year's programme include art exhibitions in Ponsonby, Silo Park, Mangere Arts Centre and Otahuhu, a Battlecry hip-hop performance in Otara, family events in Northcote and Manurewa and a performance by theatre company Black Grace, celebrating its 20th birthday.
"Diva" is a key word to remember for the Fafswag Ball this year.
The show's title is coined from the Samoan word fa'afafine - which literally translates to "in the manner of a woman". The event started three years ago and celebrates young Pasifika people within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Although it's dubbed a ball, it is styled more like a fashion show and talent quest, with models encouraged to show off dance moves while displaying elaborate costumes.
Among those behind the scenes is artist Tanu Gago, who said the idea was about empowering those in the LGBT community - particularly from Pasifika backgrounds - who faced various struggles fitting into a community that often did not understand them.
"We try to encourage the community to feel like they have a platform to come and express their identity because it's quite challenging, especially if you're young, to try and navigate the politics of your identity in a public space."
Fafswag: Saturday, November 21, 7.30pm. Te Puke Otara Community Centre.
Hollywood meets Polynesia in the event that aims to give film lovers a taste of the Pacific.
Nine films inspired by stories from this side of the world have been fused into a 100-minute event which organisers say is one of its best in its 13-year history.
Long-time film-maker and director Craig Fasi said this year's films told stories from Hawaii, French Polynesia, Samoa, Tuvalu, Rarotonga and Tahiti and at $12 a ticket, was a great opportunity to see some new and upcoming talent.
"The crux of Pollywood is to provide a platform for our Pasifika film-makers, writers, producers and actors to give them a longer life in terms of viewing.
"In most cases, work that's made has a very limited show-span and then it gets shelved and no one gets to see it," Mr Fasi said.
"In this respect, we give them a bit more exposure and try and build a network between the artists that are involved in Pollywood and to generate some inspiration for budding film-makers out there."
Pollywood: Tomorrow 2pm and Thursday, November 26, 6.30pm. Auckland Art Gallery.
Traditional tatau will be at the forefront as tattooists from around the Pacific and New Zealand come together to show off their unique art.
There will be performances and film screenings and talks by tattoo artists from different cultures. Greenland tattoo artist Maya Sialuk Jacobsen and Alaskan Holly Nordlum will speak at the event.
Jacobsen, who lives in Norway, is known for using traditional methods such as skin stitching and hand-poking. Nordlum has carried out research in the last few years about the need to keep the art of traditional cultural tattoos alive.
Indigenous Ink: November 21-22, 10.30am-7pm. Manukau Institute of Technology, Manukau.
• When: Today until November 28.
• What: Festival showcasing Pasifika arts and culture, theatre, music, dance, visual arts. Seventy events happening.
• Where: Activities, events and shows all around Auckland.
For more information: www.Urbanesia.org.nz