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Auckland beats to the heart of the Pacific

21 February 2006

Auckland beats to the heart of the Pacific

The Pacific Islands have never been closer – on Saturday 11 March Western Springs plays host to the vibrant colours, wide smiles and Island drum beats of Pasifika Festival 2006.

The festival, now in its 14th year, is the largest free community event of its kind in the world. It is a both a celebration of Pacific arts and culture and of Auckland as the home of the world's largest Pacific Island population.

Pasifika Festival Day, held at Western Springs Stadium and Lakeside at the all-new time of 10am to 5pm, is a chance for attendees to totally immerse themselves in Pacific Island culture. Eight villages representing different Pacific Islands provide everything from workshops and demonstrations to traditional food, cultural performances and handicraft - each showing what makes their culture unique.

SPARC (Sport & Recreation New Zealand) is sponsoring the eight cultural villages, which feature everything from contemporary arts and music to traditional food, handicraft and cultural performances. Physical activity will be integrated into the programmes at all of the SPARC Push Play Villages to encourage people to remain active throughout the festival.

“SPARC is delighted to be Pasifika Festival’s village sponsor again this year. We are committed to getting New Zealanders to look after their general health and well-being so for us the festival is a great opportunity to show people ways they can be more active in a fun environment. Our aim is to get everyone in New Zealand to Push Play for 30 minutes a day most days of the week – it doesn’t have to be hard, it might just be getting off the bus one stop early or walking to the shops instead of driving” says Deb Hurdle, SPARC’s general manager of participation.

The ninth village, Niu Sila, has a slightly different focus, featuring information from government and tertiary institutions in addition to dance competitions, up and coming entertainers and craft and food stalls.

Highlights of each of the eight cultural villages include:

Samoa Village
- full ava (similar to Fijian Kava) ceremony
- traditional umu (earth oven)
- entertainment throughout the day provided by Merge Media
- traditional foods and handicrafts
- Samoan Trade and Tourism delegations on site including the Samoan Tourism Authority Dance Group and members from Samoa Garments and Elei Design Manufacturers Association.
Don’t miss Samoa’s signature dishes “Palusami/Luau” (corned beef and coconut cream wrapped in taro leaves) and “Pisua” (starch from grated cassava mixed with coconut cream and sugar).

Tonga Village
- Filipe Tohi (Tongan contemporary sculptor)
- Siasi Tonga Brass Band
- Tau'olunga (traditional dance) by Miss Vanessa Jones
- Performances by Avondale Junior Saints, Anglican Tongan Youth, Onehunga Catholic Youth and Tongan Mormon Youth Girls group
- Umu demonstration and a competition to win umu for lunch
- Melenau Lino (Tongan female artist)
- Learn how to weave your own traditional wear using traditional Tongan materials
Don’t miss Tonga’s signature dishes “Lu pulu” (corned beef and coconut cream wrapped in taro leaves) and “Ngou’a” (taro leaves mixed with cassava pudding in caramel sauce).

Niue Village
- Moota String Band
- Koli (traditional dancing) throughout the day by Brianney-li Poimafisi, Dreesana Gaitau, Lialagi Foou, One/Amber Patutaue and Shevalyn Poimafisi
- Village aerobics (music: Vihi Heka)
- Niue culturewear competition (12-15 year olds)
- Competitions in tapu togiapoe (ladies weaving), paleu (Niuean fan) and volu niu tufi fifine (coconut scraping)
- Malcolm Lakatani
- A display of traditional Niuean wear
Don’t miss Niue’s signature dishes “Takihi” (white taro layered with pawpaw and coconut cream) and the juice of young coconut.

Fiji Village
- Blowing of the conch shell to herald the Official Opening of the Fiji Village, opening prayer, followed by the singing of the Fijian National anthem by a choir
- Choral items
- Basket weaving demonstration
- Fashion show (Blast from the Past – Old Fiji)
- Coconut scraping and tasting
- Fashion show featuring original, traditional Fijian attire
- Fijian men dressed in the formal uniform of a Fijian policeman (white sulu and black tunic) helping around the village.
Don’t miss Fiji’s signature dishes “Kokoda” (fresh ocean fish marinated in lemons, garnished with seasonal salads and presented in a tasty coconut sauce) and “Vakalolo” (cassava cake/pudding with caramel sauce).

Kiribati Village
- Mwaie (traditional dancing)
- Te Kuaea (traditional songs accompanied by guitar)
- Kids’ weaving (chance for kids to come and weave their own hats, sunglasses, windmills, fish, balls etc.)
- Dance costumes (show on traditional dance costumes, how they are made, what they are made from and for which dances they are used for)
Don’t miss Kiribati’s signature dishes “Te tuae” (a preserved food made from pandanus fruit) and “Pancakes Kiribati style” (sprinkled with freshly grated coconut and topped with te kamaimai – coconut syrup).

Tokelau Village
- Traditional games being demonstrated and played – Tuiga music with the Tokelau community
- Women’s craft workshop (traditional weaving (mats and fans – fala and ili)) with the Tokelau Women’s Group
- Po te Pusa and Siva (Fatele drumming & dancing workshop) with the Tokelau community
- Men’s craft workshop with the Tokelauan Men’s Group
- Tokelau Youth Performance
- Traditional dancing (Fatele), Tokelau community
Don’t miss Tokelau’s signature dishes “Meika” (fresh ocean fish marinated in lemons, garnished with seasonal salads and presented in a tasty coconut sauce) and “Fekei” (grated cooked taro with coconut cream and ‘kaleve’, coconut juice).

Cook Islands Village
- Ukulele playing competition (for young amateurs or talented musicians)
- Dance-off competitions (traditional and contemporary)
- Sale of live tipani (frangipani) plants
- Sale of vai uto drink (yellow grated coconut kernels with sweetened coconut juice complimented with cabin bread)
- Miss South Pacific 2005
Don’t miss the Cook Islands’ signature dishes “Mitiore” (fresh shellfish mixed in fermented grated coconut and onions) and “Poke Meika” (banana pudding).
There is more live entertainment, top cultural groups, products and cuisine at the Cook Islands Trade Delegation site, situated by the APRA/NZMIC Stage and the Stadium Road park entrance.

Tuvalu Village
- Fatele performances followed by island songs played by a band
- handicraft demonstration and display
- Siva (dance) performed by the Funafuti youth
- Game of tui (played with coconut shells)
- Tui, a traditional indoor game using coconut shells will be demonstrated and played.
Don’t miss Tuvalu’s signature dishes “Ikafuluniu” (fresh ocean fish cooked in open fire and mixed with freshly grated coconut and cream) and “Poi” (mashed young coconut meat mixed with fresh toddy).

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.


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