The problem is that we repeat these shortcomings every year, and when some people point these weaknesses out we denounce them. As a result our standards remain at the bottom and we learn to tolerate poor organisation and levels of efficiency. Here are some of the obvious problems:
1. We can never seem to start things on time. The float parade has improved from two hours late to one hour late - But why on earth should it be late? For goodness sake, if a float does not get there on time, leave them behind and push on - otherwise you are rewarding the latecomers and punishing those floats that were on time as well as the people waiting on the streets. That is basic organisation and it is not rocket science. Guess what, next year those on time will come late because they know that the organisers will wait for them.
2. Have a professional MC at the Maeva Nui. Someone who can follow a programme and keep it professional and tidy. This is a celebration of the nation not a night spot programme in a hotel show. The head of the department should spend more time ensuring that the whole operation is functioning well. We see too many shortfalls to list them.
3. The promotional side of the operation was woefully inadequate. The halls were not full. There were many tourists who did not know about the Maeva Nui and all the other programmes. There are tour busses available to pick up tourists from the larger establishments to fill the auditorium up and have brochures delivered to every room or hotel. We lost something like $50,000 in revenue because there was no adequate promotion with the tourism industry.
4. The performers and supporters were ignored. Seats in the auditorium should be allocated for each team’s supporters to come in and see their team perform and after the performance vacate it for the supporters of the next team. These are the unappreciated workers, costume makers, etc etc which produced such high quality performances with no reward. Giving them free seats for their group’s performance is the least the organisers could do. If this was in New Zealand the teams would demand payment and require that the revenue from the sale of the CDs etc be shared and maybe they should do that next year and then have a say in making sure it is done efficiently and professionally.
5. There is a need to get someone to oversee the production of the explanation notes to be read out for each item, so the audience can understand clearly what the story of the item is. It should be put into simple Maori and English – not try and impress us with old sayings which are meaningless to many. The name of the game is information, not impressing.
6. There should be greater appreciation about the performances. I thought the comments by the Secretary of Culture at the closing ceremony about some of the performances and performers were uncalled for and downright rude. He may have said it in a joking manner but that was the main problem of the whole show – it was reduced to a night club local hullaballoo level. This was, after all, the formal closing ceremony and awards day.
7. Lastly, I still believe we are so fortunate to have such a high level of performances. As a people we should be proud of the huge improvement and the professionalism of the performers, the choreography, the drumming and the superb costumes. The four-night show was still the best in the Pacific and we should be proud of our people, our culture and our heritage. All we need to do is clean up our public service section – the only people who are paid to do this kind of work. The rest do it for free.
(Name and address supplied)