Vibrant festival celebrates Pacific culture
12 Mar 2009
The world’s largest Polynesian city, Auckland, comes alive in a colourful island-style celebration this weekend with the annual Pasifika Festival at Western Springs Park.
The park will be transformed into 10 different temporary cultural villages to represent each of the Pacific nation communities that have made their home in New Zealand.
Vibrance and energy
Traditional costumes, native dance, live music, Polynesian food and traditional art have earned the festival a reputation as the country’s most vibrant and energetic cultural event.
The 2009 festival has been reduced to a one day event but Minister of Pacific Island Affairs Georgina te Heuheu says it is still the biggest Polynesian event in the world and is "a wonderful celebration of Pacific pride".
Festival of dance
Pacific Island nations represented include Fiji, the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Tokelau, Tuvalu and Kiribati.
Local Māori iwi (tribe) Ngati Whatua O Orakei will also be at the festival with a Tangata Whenua village celebrating the relationship Māori have with the Pacific Islands.
Three different stages will be in operation around the park - each featuring dramatic performances of traditional dance, reggae, hip hop and Pasifika R & B.
As well as the traditional and contemporary entertainment, workshops, demonstrations, stalls and food stations, this year’s festival also features a new Sevens rugby tournament.
Premiere Auckland rugby teams will battle it out on the domain adjacent to the festival, and soccer and rugby league players also plan to stage a special demonstration of their sport.
The Pasifika Festival runs from 10am - 5pm on Saturday 14 March at Western Springs Park, Great North Rd, Auckland.
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