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Manioro event inspires Rainbow Hawke’s Bay community


More than 1000 people packed out Functions on Hastings at the Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre last weekend to take part in Manioro Hawke’s Bay – a two-day event for the LGBTQIA+, MVPFAFF+, Takatāpui & Pasifika Rainbow Hawke’s Bay community.

Manioro means to make a noise, or create a disturbance, and was brought to Hastings by Nevertheless - a non-profit organisation centred around Māori, Pasifika and Takatāpui, founded by Shaqaila Uelese and Maia Wati-Cooper.

Shaq said the first-ever Manioro event was held in Auckland during Mental Health Awareness week in early October 2022, with about 60 people attending. 

“Manioro Hawke’s Bay 2023, was an absolute dream. Maia and I were both ecstatic with how many people showed up from diverse backgrounds.”

Both Shaq and Maia were born in Hastings, with Shaq raised in Flaxmere and Maia in Hastings – and both attended school in Hawke’s Bay, leaving for Auckland four years ago to finish their tertiary degrees.

The theme for the Manioro Hawke’s Bay event was "Love us the same, hold us the same", and featured an array of free workshops and events, said Shaq.

“We had Takatāpui-led creative workshops including Kapa Haka facilitated by Ngā Uri o Whiti te Rā Mai le Moana Trust from Porirua, a Siva Samoa workshop from Auckland’s Kelston Kweenz, and fabric painting by Phylesha Brown-Acton of F’ine Pasifika.

“LGBTQIA+, Takatāpui, and Pasifika Rainbow advocates came together from all around New Zealand and inspired our local Rainbow whānau and allies through the sharing of stories and experiences.”

There was also a range of speakers in attendance, whose kōrero left many people feeling uplifted and inspired, she said.

A Fiafia night was one of the highlight events that was livestreamed, and watched more than 3000 times.

Looking ahead, the pair will continue to work with local health authorities from Te Whatu Ora to create sustainable pathways for the Rainbow Hawke’s Bay community.

“We are very proud of Teine o le Apu - Pasifika HB Rainbow community led by Annie Togia and Faleniu Lagaaia for taking up this opportunity to showcase their talents. Manioro gave an opportunity for our peoples to hear from local talented whakawāhine such as Jade Jeffares, Paris Brown, Kingston Kara and Callida Waihape,” said Shaq.

And it won’t be the last time we see them in Hawke’s Bay, she added, acknowledging the main sponsors who had made this event possible: Mana Pasifika Aotearoa and The Lowdown NZ.

They were also greatly supported by Mataatua Takatāpui Trust, F'INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust, Ngā Uri o Whiti te Rā Mai le Moana Trust, and locally, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated, Traci Tuimaseve of Trailmedia and Learning Innovations. 

Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre is proud to support and host events such as Manioro, which are free for our community and enable participation in a wide range of arts and cultural activities.

3 February 2023

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