A detailed discussion of music within the Pacific festival space, reconstructed from ethnography, highlights the central theme of this chapter: the paramount importance placed on staging a balance of both contemporary and traditional performances. Traditional musics communicate notions of ancestral cultures, whether literally, figuratively, or nostalgically, and challenge the idea of “staged authenticity”, of performances staged specifically for the tourist gaze. Here the “traditional” functions contemporaneously, is staged by and for the communities, and reflects a transference of material performed in private community contexts into a festivalized public sphere. Contemporary musics, by contrast, reflect the twenty-first century realities of Pacific peoples in New Zealand, a culture that is greatly influenced by Western and popular cultural forms. This discussion reflects but also adds to the broader debate occurring within communities about the nature of defining what “Pacific music” is and is becoming.
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