Creekfest cancelled after funding blow

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 11:23 04/02/2013
Andrea O'Neil

CANCELLED: The annual Creekfest has been cancelled after the Trust that runs it missed out on a grant.

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After missing out on $27,000 in funding, the Porirua health festival Creekfest has been cancelled.

In December, the March 9 event lost out on funding from the Mana Community Grants Foundation, which has supported the festival since 2006.

The foundation has gifted Creekfest more than $100,000 over the last six years.

Deputy mayor Liz Kelly, who is the executive officer of Porirua Healthlinks Trust which organises Creekfest, said it was a real disappointment the foundation had not granted the badly-needed money.

"When our own local foundation declined our application it really made it impossible for outside gaming funders to fund the event."

Creekfest costs around $117,000 to run each year, with the Trust applying for funds from a number of sources.

But Mana Community Grants chairman and former mayor John Burke said it was simply a case of the funds not being available.

"We had more pressure on this last funding round than we had ever had previously. It wasn't that we didn't want to fund the event, we just didn't have the funds available on this occasion."

But Ms Kelly said it was difficult to understand why they could not support Creekfest when the foundation had given $35,000 towards Wednesday's Festival of the Elements.

"I don't know what their criteria is for why they would give to one event but not the other. It's disappointing."

The reality was that Festival of the Elements was of strategic importance for Porirua City, while Creekfest was not, Mr Burke said.

"Festival of the Elements reaches over 40,000 people a year and is a city-wide event. Creekfest doesn't reach people on a citywide basis."

It was saddening that Ms Kelly had made a political issue out of it, Mr Burke said.

"It's not political at all, it's just a case of someone applying for funds to run an event that we didn't have available to give them."

But Ms Kelly said it was a real disappointment that the event had become caught up in politics when it was never about that for her.

"I'm really quite offended that I've been accused of trying to score points. It's sad to me that politics has come into it, I'm gutted to tell you the truth."

Ms Kelly was hopeful that the Trust could find funding to run the event in December, or as a biannual event with the Porirua Relay for Life.

"Never say die. We are looking at finding some sustainable funding so we are never in this position again."

Contact Kerry McBride
Porirua reporter
Email: kerry.mcbride@dompost.co.nz
Twitter: @kerry_mcbride

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- The Dominion Post

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