News Releases

Preparations for Historic Pacific Festival are Underway

For Immediate Release: February 24, 2020
HTA Release (20-04)

Final Preparations for Historic Pacific Festival Underway.pdf

HONOLULU, HI – With the Festival of the Pacific Arts & Culture or FESTPAC less than four months out, event commissioners held a news conference today announcing numerous preparations underway. FESTPAC will run from June 10-21, 2020 with events being held throughout Honolulu and Waikiki. It will be the first time that Hawaii will serve as FESTPAC host.

Thousands of Pacific Islanders and visitors are expected to attend FESTPAC. This yearʻs theme is: E ku i ka hoe uli (Take hold of the steering paddle).

“Our theme serves as a reminder to every Pacific Islander, that we are leading global discussions on climate change and its effect on the very identity of our island cultures,” said Senator English, who serves as FESTPAC Hawaii Chairman. “It is a reminder to our young leaders to heed the call of our elders – to perpetuate and carry on our stories and practice our culture and ancestral knowledge.”

FESTPAC is a traveling festival hosted every four years by a different Oceania country. It was started by the Pacific Community as a means to stem erosion of traditional cultural practices by sharing and exchanging culture at each festival. The first South Pacific Arts Festival was held in Fiji in 1972. In 1980, the event became the Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture. Delegates from more than twenty oceanic nations are expected to participate in this year’s event.

Throughout the 11 days there will be a Festival Village, cultural exchange and discussions, performances and exhibits. Opening ceremonies are slated to occur at Iolani Palace; and, closing ceremonies will take place at Kapiolani Park.

Health, housing, security, and other precautionary measures are all part of FESTPAC planning. FESTPAC Commissioners acknowledged that the event could not take place without the strong support of the Legislature, State agencies, Honolulu County and numerous sponsors.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is among the key sponsors of FESTPAC. HTA President and CEO Chris Tatum announced an allocation of $500,000 for the festival.

“Our investment in this historic event is to ensure that all who come to FESTPAC Hawaii will experience the beauty of our state and learn about our unique history that guides our values today,” said Tatum.

FESTPAC Commissioners have worked with other sponsor partners including Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaii to assist in housing Pacific Island delegates.

A Hawaii delegation has participated in every FESTPAC since 1976. FESTPAC Commissioner and Kumu Hula Snowbird Bento is among the former delegates who represented Hawaii at past festivals. She called the experiences, “eye opening.”

“It’s important for Hawaii to host FESTPAC, so we can remember who we are – that we come from a really rich legacy, because I think a lot of people have relegated in their minds that Hawaiians only exist in certain venues,” said Bento.

Today’s FESTPAC announcement was held during the month’s end of honoring olelo Hawaii. For more information about FESTPAC Hawaii 2020, including a list planned events and venues, visit

Media Contacts:

Marisa Yamane
Director of Communications and Public Relations
Hawaii Tourism Authority
808-973-2272 (o)
[email protected]