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Western Springs set to transform into the heart of Pasifika

Auckland’s iconic Pasifika Festival will transform Western Springs into a vibrant heart of Pacific culture once again in late March, with new features and shared spaces aimed at creating an even better experience for the tens of thousands of festival-goers.

In its 27thyear, this family friendlyeventbrings together Pacific communities to celebratediverse cultures of the South Pacific.The festival is free for everyone,with authentic foods, arts and crafts stalls and demonstrations, traditional and contemporary Pacific music and performances.

With more than 200traditional and contemporaryperformances throughout the two-day event, festival-goers willexperiencetraditional artforms and practices from 10 different villages,each representing a distinct Pacific culture. This year’s event includes villages fromthe Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Aotearoa, Hawaii, Kiribati/Tokelau (combined),Samoa, Tahiti, Tuvalu and Tonga.

This year’s refreshed and expanded formatincludes the re-introduction of a shared festival stage in addition to each village’s stage.

The stageprogrammewillbe jam-packed withan exciting array of headline, international and large group performances. Festival attendees can expect more opportunities toparticipate with each of theunique village experiences, with fale activations programmed throughout the festival weekend.

ATEED ‘s Head of Major Events, Stuart Turner says: “Pasifika Festival brings together thousands of people – Aucklanders, domestic visitors and international travellers – to learn about and celebrate Pasifika culture. It is a great opportunity to tell the story of Auckland’s important Polynesian heritage, and to strengthen our identity as an exciting, cultural destination.”

Expect bright floral arrangements decorating each village throughout the festival site. In the Hawaiian village people can learn how to make fresh flower leis, twining greens and weaving colourful, fragrant flowers together to wear around the festival. Over at the Fijiian village, there will be traditional Rotuman garland-making, which can be used for ceremonial or dancing purposes.

This year marks the 250th anniversary of Tahitian high priest Tu Paia of Raiatea Island landing in New Zealand with legendary explorer James Cook. The village will have a range of performances and displays to acknowledge this historic milestone. With a focus on fresh, quality cuisine, the Tahitian village will showcase the vibrant flavour of its five archipelagos, preparing fresh coconut milk for people to feast on.

The Cook Islands village has a sustainability focus this year, with talks and workshops on protecting marine life in the Pacific. Its street vendor-style food trucks will keep hungry people happy with popular traditional dishes including curried octopus (eke), marinated raw tuna, and pancakes.

An exhibition of traditional wedding and funeral attire will adorn the fale walls of the Tongan village this year. Nearby, visitors will be able to experience a traditional cava ceremony.

The festival will proceed rain or shine. Attendees are encouraged to prepare according to the day’s weather forecast. There are many public transport options available to and from the festival location at Western Springs. Further information on bus and train schedules can be found via aucklandtransport.govt.nz.

Vector Lights will light up the Auckland Harbour Bridge to celebrate Pasifika Festival. This is part of a smart energy partnership between Vector and Auckland Council in collaboration with the NZ Transport Agency, the guiding light toward a smart energy future. For more information, and to listen to the sound track, visit www.vector.co.nz/lights.

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