Friday, July 8, 2011


The Filipino Artists in New Zealand Inc. – also known by its much shorter name, Filinartizts, are proud to have its community website operating today on the World Wide Web. It is the beginning of this Group’s serious foray into capacity-building and social entrepreneurship in a sustainable way.

As an artistic and culturally-oriented organisation composed of Filipino-Kiwis in Wellington New Zealand, its aims is to mirror the rich culture of the Philippines by actively promoting the performance of a variety of Philippine-based art forms particularly those involving visual arts, dance, music, martial arts, literary arts and the performing arts.

The Filipino Community in New Zealand has grown steadily over the years. For much older members, they are now on stream raising a third generation in this their adopted country. As migrants of a certain ethnic extraction, Filipinos – not thoroughly Asian, nor thoroughly Western either, are an interesting fusion of mixes of older cultures who have learned to take the best of those worlds and weave it into colourful story of a people that spans nearly a thousand years of written history and trade with other nations. That’s over 40 generations and still counting.

To Aotearoa, as elsewhere around the world, the pioneers came. In a Census taken in 1936, there were six New Zealand residents born in the Philippines. That core slowly grew as sap trickles down a tree in a desert over the next 25 years. Then the country’s intake of Filipino students began to increase temporarily in 1960 under the Colombo Plan, a collective inter-governmental effort to strengthen economic and social development of member countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. Most of them returned home, but a few stayed on in Aotearoa even as it was far afield from home.

New Zealand as a migration destination was yet to be discovered. In fact, there were only 405 Filipino residing in New Zealand as late as 1981. It would take under 10 years before more densely populated regions such as Wellington and Auckland experienced an exponential growth in their respective Filipino-Kiwi communities.

Today, it is estimated that there are just over 45,000 Filipinos residing in New Zealand mostly resulting from an immigration policy that encourages highly-skilled individuals and their families to give it a crack and settle here. That number, how-ever, pales in comparison to the over 210,000 Filipinos who now call Australia their home and who are now contributing heftily yet quietly to the economic and cultural growth of that country.

Wherever you find Filipinos anywhere in the world and get to know them better, you will often discover a rather can-do confident, curious, sometimes reserved but often gregarious and a mostly generous and sympathetic lot proud to be who they are in their own skins and fiercely protective of their whānau and extremely loyal to close friends. That’s not because they can speak, write and debate in English as good as the rest when it suits them but rather, because it’s ingrained as inheritors of a rich heritage and history.

This heritage and that history, expressed through arts and culture, is now what our organisation is preparing to share with all others living in New Zealand. All we need to start in getting this cart moving along the path to fulfillment is just a little help from our friends, supporters, donors and funders.

Filinartizts would also like to thank Karl Quirino for lending both his creative and writing skills and his technical wizardry and also our community website sponsor – Faith in Family Foundation, who have graciously accepted our organisation as a member of The Community Well.NZ Project.


The Filipino Artists in New Zealand, Inc. (or, FILINARTIZTS) was organized by a group of young and aspiring artists guided by the Office of the Cultural Officer of the Philippine Embassy in Wellington.

Following a successful theatre-based pantomime performance in 2008 that showcased a rendition of the Philippines’ historical struggle for national independence, the performers were inspired to form a much more formal group that would continue to promote and develop Philippine arts and culture in a more holistic manner.

While there may be other Filipino organisations capable of organizing and performing certain aspects of Philippine arts and culture in New Zealand, the founding members of FIL-INARTISTZ realized that there is no one organized group focusing on holistically promoting and developing the ‘whole basket’. It decided to address this gap.

Philippine art and culture is fabulously rich and varied – one which reflects that country’s long history and colourful indigenous traditions. No dimension of Philippine arts or culture can be understood in isolation.

The reality is, cultures are integrated wholes and the best way to approach it – in all its myriad expressions, is to emphasize the interdependence of all its component parts.
In this scenario, on January 27th 2009 FILINARTIZTS was born.

By emphasising the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts, FILIN-ARTIZTS now actively promotes Philippine arts and culture in six different areas or forms – Visual Arts; Dance; Music; Martial Arts; Literary Arts; and, the Performing Arts.

Undertaking all this reflects FILINARTISTZ’ basic objectives, which are:

- Promoting awareness and appreciation of Philippine arts and culture both within the Filipino community and wider segments of society in New Zealand;
- Build on and encourage Filipinos of all age groups – particularly the young and those born in New Zealand, to express their cultural heritage and traditions as one that is both vibrant and alive by:
- tapping both budding and established talents in music, dance, visual arts, per-forming arts, martial arts and literary arts; and,
- being the conduit for Filipino talents showcasing all these forms.
- To enhance the craft and upgrade individual talents and skills through continuous training and participation in activities, particularly in performances; and,
- To encourage creativity and motivate social cohesion within the Filipino community in New Zealand.

FILINARTISTZ is committed towards utilizing Philippine culture and arts to aid the settling process of new Filipino migrants coming into the country. It is our view that their involvement and participation paves the way for strengthening self-worth and identity for their better integration as productive members of the wider Filipino community and New Zealand society.

Collaboration and partnership is what drives all our aspirations. It propels the way on how we will implement all projects and conduct our activities. In this regard, FILINARTIZTS aims to work alongside other growing and established Philippine organisations and Filipino individuals, particularly in areas where we have common goals, objectives and interests.

Working together, we will strive to harness and develop the collective strength and latent individual talents in the community when developing and promoting Philippine arts and culture because, in the final analysis, it enriches the much larger culture in Aotearoa.

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