Auckland’s popular Pasifika Festival celebrates a welcome return to Western Springs Park in March after a two-year absence. The vibrant event will feature 11 Pacific communities showcasing their unique culture on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March.
More than 60,000 Aucklanders and visitors are expected to attend the two-day festival, which features hundreds of local and international performers, artists and artisans.
The new festival stage is jam-packed with an exciting array of headline, international and large group performances, including award-winning soul and R&B artists, Aaradhna and Sammy J. Another new addition is the Pasifika Strongman competition featuring four teams representing Aotearoa, Samoa, Niue and Tonga.
Sistema Aotearoa Youth Orchestra will bring 40 Pacific youth to perform a 20-minute orchestral performance and Joel Amosa, the 2018 Lexus Song Quest winner, will perform on the festival stage on Sunday.
Each village will feature a performance stage and market stalls selling signature dishes and crafts unique to the village’s culture. The villages represent Aotearoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Tuvalu, Tonga, Tokelau and the Solomon Islands, which will join the festival for the first time.
Festival attendees can participate with each of the unique village experiences, with fale activations programmed throughout the festival weekend.
Auckland’s iconic Harbour Bridge will be lit up on the nights of the festival through Vector Lights, a smart energy partnership between Vector and Auckland Council in collaboration with the NZ Transport Agency. For more information, and to listen to the soundtrack, visit vector.co.nz/lights.
The free festival will have plenty of activities for the kids and live entertainment for the whole family There will be food, craft and retail stalls where festival-goers will be able to sample authentic food, clothing, traditional arts and crafts, foodstuffs, skincare, novelties and souvenirs from the festival.
The festival’s second day will hold special poignancy as it marks the one-year anniversary of the Christchurch terror attacks. And to acknowledge the day, a minute’s silence will be observed by each village at the start of the festival’s Sunday programme.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff says he is looking forward to the festival.
“Pasifika is an incredible celebration of Auckland’s diverse Pacific cultures,” he says.
“After last year’s cancellation because of the tragic mosque attacks in Christchurch, it’s great to have Auckland’s Pacific communities come together this year to put on one of the biggest and most vibrant celebrations of Auckland’s diversity and multiculturalism.”
The Pasifika Festival is delivered by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) on behalf of Auckland Council, in partnership with the Pasifika Festival Village Coordinators, who represent the different communities and guide the cultural integrity of the festival.
ATEED‘s Major Events Production Manager, Leisa Siteine says Pasifika offers people the chance to enjoy the sights, sounds and flavours of the South Pacific.
“Pasifika offers a window into the traditional practices across the diverse cultures of the Pacific and celebrates the unique elements of each country.
“The festival brings together thousands of people to learn about and celebrate Pasifika culture and heritage and highlights our identity as a multi-cultural destination.”
Festival-goers are encouraged to use public transport and to visit aucklandtransport.govt.nz for more details.