Young political powerhouse Chloe Swarbrick was in Wanaka last week, addressing the patrons of the Festival of Colour at the Lake Wanaka Centre.
Swarbrick, 24, is New Zealand’s youngest MP as a list member for the Green Party. She rose to national fame when she ran against Phil Goff in Auckland's 2016 mayoral race at the age of 22. Although she lost, her political rise continued on meteoric proportions. Of her many portfolios, Arts Culture & Heritage is one she feels particular passion for. Swarbrick was only 17 when she launched her first art show.
“I went to Epsom Girls Grammar (decile 10) while two guys I went to intermediate with, went to Onehunga High (decile 3). Their support and opportunity was non-existent but I knew they were really talented artists,” Swarbrick said. “So I googled ‘how to run an art show’ and even though I had no idea what I was doing, I just ploughed on and miraculously it came together. We even sold art which is now in the collection at the James Wallace Arts Trust at Pah homestead.”
At the patrons meeting last Wednesday, Swarbrick spoke of the importance of the arts and the role that art and culture play in the fabric of society — the way it can bring people together and express thoughts and emotions that otherwise have no outlet.
The 2019 Festival of Colour will take place from April 2 to 7, 2019, and the programme of performers, artists and musicians will be announced in February.