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Celebrating Pacific Cultures

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Pacific Island Affairs

9 March 2012

Pacific Island Affairs Minister, Hekia Parata, will this weekend encourage Pacific communities across the country to celebrate their diverse cultures and be proud of what they offer.

Tomorrow Ms Parata is attending Creekfest in Porirua and then heading to Auckland for the 20th anniversary of the Pasifika Festival.

“Pacific cultures are an increasingly important part of how we express our national identity and it is exciting to see the popularity of Pacific festivals grow from strength to strength each year,'' says Ms Parata.

The Pasifika Festival began in 1992 and is now the most significant cultural festival in the South Pacific and the largest festival of its kind, attracting over 200,000 people each year.

Auckland is the largest Polynesian city in the world and 67 percent of Pacific people, at the time of the last Census in 2006, lived in the city of sails. Many of them young people.

“At the last Census, more than one in three Pacific people were under the age of 15 and most were born in New Zealand. The Pasifika Festival is significant and provide an opportunity for this younger generation to connect with their culture and heritage, as well as bring together all Pacific age groups to celebrate and showcase their diverse cultures of the Pacific.''

Ms Parata says being the Pacific Island Affairs and Education Minister presents some wonderful linkages and opportunities to help support young Pacific learners lift their achievement levels and reach their potential.

“A critical part of creating strong, vibrant, capable Pacific communities is a successful educational experience and raised achievement,” says Ms Parata.

“Our Government wants to see more Pacific children attending high quality early childhood education centres that provide a strong foundation, so they can smoothly transition into primary school ready to learn.

“We want these students to then make strong subject choices at secondary school setting themselves up for qualifications and career pathways that will lead to strong employment prospects.”

The annual Creekfest family day in Porirua promotes health and wellbeing.

"Porirua has the fourth largest Pacific population, with the last Census showing 12,267 Pasifika people lived in the city. Creekfest, now in its eighth year, is a great opportunity for the community to come together and learn about healthy living.

"We need to encourage people, young and old, to lead active, healthy lives for the benefit of themselves and their communities.

"I look forward to a rewarding day full of diverse cultural experiences at Creekfest and the Pasifika Festival.”

Minister Parata will be at Creekfest at Cannons Creek Park in Porirua from 10am and will then join Prime Minister, John Key, at the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs in Auckland from 3.15pm.

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