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Pasifika Festival celebrates Pacific culture

Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs

7 March 2008
Media Statement

Pasifika Festival celebrates Pacific culture

Tomorrow's 16th annual Pasifika Festival is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate New Zealand as a Pacific nation says Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban.

"Pasifika recognises the inherent richness and diversity of Pacific peoples, honouring our Pacific languages, culture and identity that make our communities so special," said Laban.

Cultural villages at the festival are dedicated to profiling the unique aspects of each of the Pacific Island communities in a celebration of art, culture and lifestyle.

"As a Labour-led government we understand and value the contributions our Pacific community members make to New Zealand’s National Identity. We are dedicated to preserving their culture, language, identity, history, traditions and sense of belonging," Laban said.

Census 2006 statistics show that Pacific communities make up 6.9 per cent of the total New Zealand population, with the seven largest Pacific ethnic groups being Samoan, Cook Island Maori, Tongan, Niuean, Fijian, Tokelauan and Tuvaluan.

"Our government recognises the important contribution of our Pacific communities in New Zealand.

"I am very much looking forward to attending tomorrow's festival with Prime Minister Helen Clark, which is a rich and vibrant celebration of our Pacific communities," Laban said.

"It is fitting that the Pasifika Festival follows the Pacific Trade Expo held this week, which attracted businesses and government delegations from Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Norfolk Island and New Caledonia."

Over 200,000 people are expected to attend Pasifika Festival, one of the largest community events in the South Pacific.


ENDS

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