The Whau Pacific Festival is a four-day event celebrating Pacific culture and art. Held in the west Auckland suburb of Avondale this year, workshops included Pacific language classes, artist showcases, Pacific food tasting, and screenings of short films. Husain Malvi reports.

This festival brings people together through music, food and art and allows young creatives to showcase their work.

Emma Olphert was one of the featured artists who displayed her work at the All Goods Gallery in Avondale during the festival.

Olphert’s artworks depict musa leaves (banana leaves) in different colours.

Also studying creative technologies at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Olphert said she has digitally edited her paintings to evoke texture and add more depth to her images.

Also at the festival was artist Curly Elias Ismail. Originally from Zimbabwe, Ismail has been living in Auckland for five-years and said he paints women which he sees in his day to day life.

“Women are not treated equally in many cultures and I believe they should be given equal rights. I like to share that same message through my paintings,” he added.

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Young creative Neishun Lopati shared the wisdoms of her nana with everyone at the event through her collection titled ‘From my nana to you’.

The collection displayed her artwork which she has made into postcards. Printed on them are her favourite quotes said to her by her nana.

“One can write a small message on that postcard and give it to their loved ones.”

Celebrating diversity

Organised by Deahne Lakatani and her partner Malcom Lakatani, from the Creative Souls Project, it was the first year this festival was held.

‘Various music sessions were held, there was a craft session where the elders taught 10-year-olds how to weave and various cooking sessions of Pacific dishes were enjoyed by people from various communities,’ Deahne Lakatani said.

“We live in a diverse society and we are celebrating that through this festival,” she said.

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Husain Malvi has worked with a leading national daily, Hindustan Times, in India for five years and has covered stories about entertainment, education, sports and crime. His passion for learning made him move to New Zealand where he is pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in International Communication at Unitec. Malvi wants to explore and enlighten people with untold stories.

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