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Pasifika opening night: being there is everything

MEDIA RELEASE
21 February 2006

Pasifika Festival opening night – being there is everything

Three times 2005 Pacific Music Award winner, Tha Feelstyle, will be taking the stage at Auckland’s Pasifika Festival at Western Springs Stadium on Friday 10 March as one of the lead acts performing at the free Air New Zealand Opening Night concert.

Nesian Mystik, R ‘n’ B duo Adeaze, and the two beautiful and talented divas Sara-Jane Auva’a and Julie Ta’ale, as well as a host of other performers will showcase some of the best of Pasifika performing arts.

The concert, running from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, includes traditional dance and contemporary song – from hip-hop and rap to reggae, soul and R ‘n’ B, while also having an emphasis on the cultural roots of the Pacific Islands involved with the festival.

To celebrate the 55th anniversary of Air New Zealand’s Pacific Coral Route – a flying boat service through the Pacific – attendees will be taken on a journey through the Pacific, beginning in Fiji and finishing in New Zealand, that weaves together the traditional and contemporary cultural fabric of the different islands. It includes performances by a Fijian Gospel Choir, Te Riri O te O Dance Group (Cook Islands) and spectacular fire dancers, interspersed with a star-studded line-up featuring Tha Feelstyle, Adeaze, Sara-Jane Auva’a, Julie Ta’ale, and Nesian Mystik.

The journey through the Pacific features all the islands from Air New Zealand’s Coral Route, which began in 1951 when its forerunner airline, Tasman Empire Airways, operated a flying boat service traversing more than 7,500 kilometres of ocean between Auckland, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Tahiti. Today, the Coral Route forms an integral part of Pacific Island history, and is recognised as being one of the world's greatest and most romantic air journeys.

The Coral Route provided the South Pacific peoples with regular communication links and also, put the Islands on the map, creating a unique tourist experience not offered by any other airline.

The planes may not be flying boats anymore (the world's last scheduled international flying boat service was discontinued in 1960) but Air New Zealand continues to fly to the Coral Route islands, providing a vital Pacific link for families and friends to stay in touch and bringing visitors to the Islands to enjoy their beauty and culture.

The evening will be MCed by Tofiga, of the hugely successful Wellington-based Laughing Samoans.

The outer sports fields at Western Springs will be available to opening night concert attendees for $2 parking on Friday night only. This area will also be available for $5 for the day for public parking on the Festival Day (Saturday).

Festival-goers will be thoroughly entertained by what’s on offer at the Air New Zealand Contemporary Stage during the two-day festival, from the opening night concert on Friday 10 March to its close at 5pm on Sunday 11 March.

Pasifika Festival 2006 will be held at Western Springs stadium and lakeside on 10 and 11 March. It starts on Friday with the spectacular free Air New Zealand opening night concert at the stadium, and concludes on Saturday with a full day of performances, entertainment and festivities.

Pasifika Festival is one of more than 60 free events provided by Auckland City as part of the Ak@Play summer events programme. It is proudly sponsored by Air New Zealand, SPARC (Sport & Recreation New Zealand), Radio 531pi, The New Zealand Herald, Ministry of Education’s Team-Up - Helping our kids learn, Flava 96one, APRA and the NZ Music Industry Commission, Families Commission, and Western Union Money Transfer. The festival is supported by Fonterra Brands (Tip Top) Limited, McCallum Industries Palm Corned Beef, Spasifik Magazine and Niu FM, and funded by the Pacific Arts Committee of Creative New Zealand.

ENDS

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