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Absolutely Positively Pasifika Festival

8 February 2008

Wellington’s first Absolutely Positively Pasifika Festival

Wellington’s Frank Kitts Park will be a kaleidoscope of Pacific Island dance and song, and traditional foods and crafts next Saturday (16 February) as the city’s inaugural Absolutely Positively Pasifika Festival kicks off at 10am.

Wellington’s seven main Pacific nations will be represented in a colourful ‘village’ of stalls. Here, people from Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue will display their traditional handicrafts, from tapa and embroidery to weaving, shell jewellery and wood carving.

A range of delicious foods will also be available – curries from Fiji, Niuean taro and chicken cooked ‘umu’ style, salads and barbecue meats from Samoa and the Cook Islands.

A soundstage will showcase performances from each Pacific nation throughout the day, ending around 4.30pm. A Tongan choir will provide the opening hymn, followed by ‘Aoga Amata’, a group of three to five-year-old Samoan children from the Pacific Island Church in Newtown. Other highlights include ‘Takalo’, a high energy Niuean dance group of ‘warrior’ men and youth, and a hula dance with drums and guitars from the Atiu Youth Dance Group from the Cook Islands. At 1pm, a fashion show will celebrate the colourful and distinctive fabrics and styles of Pacific Island life. The Master of Ceremonies will be Tofinga Fepule’ai, of the Laughing Samoans.

A cross-cultural ‘youth village’ will cater to more contemporary Pacific Island culture. There will be drumming workshops and graffiti artists at work.

Wellington City Council Economic Development and Recreation Portfolio Leader, Councillor John Morrison, says the festival will be a fantastic way to acknowledge the important contribution Wellington’s Pacific people make to the city’s vibrant community life. “This is a day for Pacific people to come together to celebrate their unique and diverse traditions and cultures, and for Wellington’s other communities to experience and appreciate them too. I encourage everyone to come along for a taste of island life.”

It is hoped that the festival will be an annual event.

The Absolutely Positively Pasifika Festival will be a highlight of what promises to be the busiest weekend of the Meridian Energy Summer City programme. Other waterfront events include the Bowl-a-Rama International Skateboarding Competition in Waitangi Park; the start of Te Papa’s tenth anniversary celebrations; and the Round the Bays Fun Run.


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