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Otara Celebrates With United States Consul General

30th September 2006

Otara Celebrates With United States Consul General

The Otara Town Centre came alive earlier this week with a celebration of recent work to revitalise the community courtyard, and the United States Consul General His Excellency John De’srocher was the surprise visitor to the event.

Otara Manukau City Councillor, Su’a William Sio said that the Consul General of America has become the new friend of the Otara Community after he visited the Otara Youth Action Group – 274 Youth Project a few weeks ago with other United States officials.

“When we sent him the invitation we weren’t sure if he would turn up, so when he did, we were really excited. It gave us an opportunity to showcase some of our best local talents and to impress upon him how passionate we are with our local community,” says Councillor Sio, “he now knows why we call Otara the capital of Manukau City.”

“It’s not everyday you have a representative of the most powerful nation in the world turn up to your local events, so we were thrilled that he did.”

“We have gotten to know John well in a short time and we have offered to support him throughout his 3 year term in New Zealand, especially if he needed whanau support for anything.”

The Otara courtyard celebration featured performances by Otara based dance crew Dziah, who placed second at the Los Angeles Hip Hop World Champs earlier this year, Tangaroa College’s Taha E Leo Nuiean Group, who took first place in the ASB Secondary School Polyfest Niuean Section, local groups Fusion and Crossbreed, and 12 year old Ashley Su'a - a young girl with a powerful, soulful voice who has already recorded four albums.

The celebrations was a result of work which has seen the courtyard transformed with extensive painting, new paving and planting, an outdoor chess board plus new café style tables and chairs, and large outdoor umbrellas.

Improvements have also been made to walkways between the town centre and Manukau Institute of Technology, which forms a backdrop to the town centre.

“The end result is credit to the local community working collaboratively with Manukau City Council, Manukau Beautification Trust, and Manukau Institute of Technology, “says Councillor Sio, “but this is only the beginning, more improvements will come as a result of the work being done by Manukau City Council under its Town Centre Strategy.”

Su’a William Sio
Manukau City Councillor – Otara Ward

Additional Information:

The Celebrations took place on Thursday 28th September, 12.30pm – 2.30pm in front of the Otara Town Centre Library.

Councillor Su’a William Sio was the Master of Ceremonies
Kaumatua Bill Wiki welcomed all manuhiri and offered karakia
Other speakers included:
Mr Leigh Auton, Manukau City Council Chief Executive
Dr Peter Coolbear, Acting CEO, Manukau Institute of Technology

Below is a list of the performers on the day:

A dance group formed by Billie Paea (son of Sully Paea) and is made up of local youths from Otara & Mangere of mixed ethnicities, Niuean, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island, Maori, Filipino, Cambodian. In their first year entering the World Hip Hop Dance Competition in Los Angeles, the came 8th in the world, and then this year they took away the Silver Medal. They are aiming to take the gold in 2007.

Saipele & David – Cydel
Have recently released their first Album of music described as a fusion between, hip hop, soul, and blues. Their sound is uniquely Cydel, and Saipele is travelling to Los Angeles next month to promote their album.

Taha E Leo Nuiean Group from Tangaroa College:
Won 1st place at this year's ASB Polynesian Secondary Schools Festival - Nuiean Section.

Won 1st place at the FLARE 06 Dance competition held this month by MISSD (Mothers In Support of Safe Driving) taking with them the grand prize $1,500. Their dance style is Hip Hop incorporated with Kapa Haka & Pacific Island dance.

A 3 member Rap Group made up of local youth who promote positive aspects of their lives through Hip Hop music.

Ashley Su'a:
Local Otara girl with a poweful, soulful voice who has been compared to the great gospel singer, Aretha Franklin. At the tender age of 12 years old, Ashley has recorded 4 albums, to date.


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