Name change positive for Miharo

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Miharo business development manager Mandy Smith (left), director Pauline Smith and programme development manager Tania Carran (Tonga) at a function last week to celebrate the opening of their new offices on Don St and launch of the trust's new brand.

WHAT was once the Murihiku Maori and Pasifika Cultural Trust is now simply Miharo.

The trust launched its new name and brand and officially opened its new offices at a function attended by whanau, local runanga, funders and supporters last week.

Miharo director Pauline Smith said Miharo means to look with wonder and awe.

“We love the positivity of this name.

“We think it represents excitement, potential and the confidence to be proud of who you are.”

Staff would also appreciate the more succinct name when introducing themselves on the phone, she added.

The Murihiku Maori and Pasifika Cultural Trust, which runs the annual Murihiku Polyfest cultural festival, was formed 10 years ago.

Polyfest started as a one-day annual event in 2009, providing an opportunity for early childhood, primary and secondary school pupils to celebrate the Maori and Pasifika cultures. A decade on, Polyfest had grown into a five-day festival to accommodate the increasing number of groups wanting to take part.

With more staff coming on board to run the expanded Polyfest and additional programmes now run by the trust, Miharo had relocated from The Crescent to 28 Don St, Invercargill.

“We want to see [the space] as a really strong community resource, which means we can use it in very diverse ways, for such things as workshops, art exhibitions and meetings.”

Mrs Smith said the trust had been rebranded to communicate its vision for the future.

The trust’s vision for the next 10 years?

“As a massive community hub based on Maori principles of manaakitanga – hospitality and treating people well,” she said.

Miharo’s logo incorporated the front section of a waka, representing moving forward, pae maunga (mountains) of Takitimu, a koru representing Rakiura and five curved lines representing Southland’s five waterways, the Waiau, Aparima, Oreti, Mataura and Matau.

“It signifies our own journey as a trust as well as the journey of people to this place,” Mrs Smith said.

She thanked community funders and supporters for their ongoing support.

“This is a big deal for us.

“Things like this don’t happen without good supporters.”

Miharo trustee Raiha Johnson said: “For me, to see the journey that the trust has taken and how it has grown, this is a really lovely evolution.

“For the staff, it is their dream realised as well. It’s not just Polyfest any more.”

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