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Phillip Field MP Speech: Pasifika Festival 2003

Phillip Field MP Speech: Pasifika Festival 2003

Pasifika Festival 2003

Kia orana, Ni sa bula vinaka, Taloha ni, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Malo e lelei, Halo Olaketa, Ia orana, Kia ora, Talofa lava, and warm Pacific greetings to you all. In particular I acknowledge Auckland City Mayor John Banks and city councillors, my Parliamentary colleagues Luamanuvao Winnie Laban and the Leader of the Opposition Bill English, community leaders and all the sponsors for this the 11th Pasifika Festival.

It is incredible to think that this weekend we are celebrating 11 years since Pasifika first burst into life. Back then it must have seem amazing when 30,000 Pacific people gathered to celebrate Pacific life, arts and culture. Yet now of course we take it for granted that there will be around four times that number gathering this weekend.

Pasifika really has become the celebration of everything Pacific. Nowhere are the unique talents of Pacific people more apparent than at the annual Pasifika festival. And what better place to celebrate those talents but in the world's biggest Polynesian city? A recent Herald article about the festival was headed "Pasifika shows the true soul of the city". I agree.

Pasifika is already New Zealand's largest one-day event with many out of towners visiting Auckland for the day to enjoy its vibrant mix of music, dance, food and arts. I welcome the news that the Auckland City Council and other stakeholders are also recognising the festival has the potential to draw international visitors here.

There is no doubt that Pacific musicians and artists are taking New Zealand by storm. With an explosion of Pacific creativity and passion mingled with more than a little business savvy, Pacific musicians, fashion designers, writers and artists are now among this country's foremost performers. Just look at some of those entertaining us this weekend - for instance Oscar Kightley, Te Vaka, Nemesis, Nesian Mystik, the Yandall Sisters and Annie Crummer.

Pacific people, particularly our young people are taking aspects of our cultural heritage and redefining them for 21st century New Zealand.

Other entertainers this weekend may not yet be household names like those I have just mentioned, but together all Pasifika's performers and artists are creatively exploring what it means to be a Pacific person in New Zealand today. In doing so they are not only redefining what is Pacific, they are also redefining what is New Zealand. As a country we are all the richer for that.

The mission statement of Pasifika reads: "To develop, promote and celebrate the diversity and unity that is Pasifika." In closing I would also say "To develop, promote and celebrate diversity and unity - that is New Zealand."

We are in for an exciting weekend, Enjoy.

Ia manuia tele.

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