Pasifika – world’s biggest Pacific festival – turns 24

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Pasifika ... celebrating 24 years of island culture and heritage this weekend. Image: Auckland City

Pack your sunhat and sunscreen, and plan your journey to Auckland’s Western Springs Park – Pasifika returns this weekend.

One of New Zealand’s longest-standing and best-loved annual festivals, Pasifika brings a slice of island paradise to Western Springs for two days. The free, family-friendly festival presents the colourful sights, sounds and tantalising tastes of the Pacific in 11 villages representing different Pacific Island nations.

Some of Auckland’s most famous Kiwi-Pacific faces will be making an appearance at the festival.

Kiwi-Samoan hip hop artist and singer-songwriter Ladi6 is the festival ambassador, while several Auckland Blues will be visiting the More FM festival family zone, and former My Kitchen Rules contestants and Pacific Island food icons Aaron and Heather Freeman are this year’s Pasifika food ambassadors.

They will be visiting food stalls to sample their delicacies and talking about Pacific Island food with stallholders and visitors.

Mayor Len Brown says Pasifika is always a favourite on his calendar, and he isn’t alone, so with that in mind, festival-goers should plan their travel to and from Western Springs.

“Auckland is a Pacific city and Pasifika is a proud celebration of that, with tens of thousands of people flocking to the festival every year. There are plenty of transport options, so put some thought into how you are getting there.”

-Partners-

As well as normal bus services travelling between Britomart and Western Springs, a point-to-point shuttle displaying “Special Event – Pasifika'”will be operating to the event between 10am-1.30pm and from the event between 2-6pm.

People cycling to the event can use Auckland Transport’s bike parking valet station, while all-day parking is available within a short stroll for a cash fee.

Sina Aiolupotea-Aiono, chair of the Auckland Council Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel, says the panel is pleased with council’s continued support and investment in Pasifika.

Key event
“This is the key event for Pasifika communities, and an acknowledgement of the significant and growing Pasifika population in Auckland. Importantly, the festival recognises the contribution that Pasifika communities make to the cultural, social and economic landscape and future of the region.

“We look forward to seeing all Aucklanders and visitors from other parts of New Zealand, the Pacific and beyond, joining us to celebrate what will be another stunning event.”

Pasifika is the biggest celebration of Pacific Island culture and heritage in the world. The festival celebrates its 24th birthday this year.

Each day provides a vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere. Saturday has a festive and busy vibe and Sunday is a good choice for those who prefer a relaxed pace. Villages feature traditional and contemporary performances for the whole family, alongside delicious food to sit down with and savour.

Highlights
• On Sunday, Ladi6 will be on site at the Mai FM area for a photo opportunity and signing session, while players from the Auckland Blues will be found at More FM with a fun competition for the kids.

• The Cook Island village has beautiful authentic products to purchase. In addition to the extensive range of colourful attire, tropical plants and hand-made wooded instruments, Kora Pearls is back this year with a larger variety of settings of pearls with improved lustre and colour. Their pearl farm in located in the Manihiki Northern Islands – the only Islands in the Cook Islands that produces the gorgeous black pearl.

• The Fiji Village will host some of the talented women involved in The Veiqia Project. Artists Margaret Aull, Donita Hulme, Joana Monolagi, Dulcie Stewart and Luisa Tora will be on-site to share and discuss their experience researching the art of Fijian female tattoo. Julia Mage’au Gray will share her research and knowledge of tattoo practice across the Pacific and will be performing a live tattooing with the hand-poking technique.

• Niue village will provide some great entertainment on Saturday with the coconut husking and coconut scraping competition followed by a breath-taking fashion parade.

• There are many established artists that will take the stage in Samoa village throughout the weekend including; Rosita Vai Gibbons, Ura Tabu Dance, Tatau Dance Crew and Le La O Samoa to name a few. Samoa Village prides itself for offering the stage as platform to promote emerging talents alongside familiar names to the Samoan community.

• Also in Samoa village visitors will find legendary internationally renowned master tattooist Suluape Tatau – Marks of Polynesia and his son tattooist Su’a Paul Suluape in action as they skilfully apply the Samoan tatau.

• The sponsors’ activities provide plenty fun and entertainment for the whole family, including the Air New Zealand Boeing 737 cockpit on-site to explore!

Supported by AMI Insurance, Pasifika Festival forms part of Auckland’s summer event programme. It is being delivered for the second year by Orange Productions on behalf of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Auckland Council.

Other sponsors include Mai FM, Tip Top, Air New Zealand, Edgewater Resort, Moneygram, Niu FM, Localist, Wonderful Indonesia, Waikato Tainui, The University of Waikato and More FM.

Getting there
Visit at.govt.nz/bus-train-ferry for further travel information and planning.

People planning to drive to Pasifika should note the Bullock Track Road will be closed both Saturday and Sunday.

Parking is available at Western Springs College, Pasadena Intermediate and MOTAT 2 (off Meola Rd) for a cash fee. For more information, see aucklandnz.com/pasifika

At Pasifika
Saturday, 12 March (10am – 5pm), and Sunday, 13 March (10am – 4pm), 2016.
Western Springs Park

MOTAT is opening its gates for the first time to host the Pan Pacific Village. Visitors to the village will find authentic Pacific Island products that are not confined to one specific village.

More tha 200 stallholders and around 300 performance groups taking part.

Pasifika online
To find out more about Pasifika Festival 2016, and get a programme and map, go to:
www.aucklandnz.com/pasifika

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