Pasifika 2014 Festival

19.01.14

Tēnā koutou katoa! 
Malo o lelei
Talofa Lava 
Taloha Ni 
Talofa 
Ni Sa Bula Vinaka
Ki a Orana 
Fakalofa lahi atu 
Malo o lelei fefe hake 
Halo olo keta

Warm Pacific Greetings - to include the hundreds of other Pacific languages!

May I acknowledge:

  • Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
  • Councillors
  • Ministers
  • Community leaders
  • People of the Pacific.

It is wonderful to join together to celebrate our Pacific communities with song, dance, food, crafts, business and sport.

This festival comes at a time when Tonga is suffering from the effects of Cyclone Ian. Natural disasters test a community and their links with the world. This Festival shows just how strong those links are. That is why I began our list with Malo e lelei

If you would like to support Oxfam’s response to Cyclone Ian you can donate money online at www.oxfam.org.nz, or text HELP to 4847 for an automatic $3 donation. There are also a number of people collecting money for Oxfam here today, please be generous.

Also there’s the Red Cross. These are professional agencies who will get building materials, fresh water, food, whatever’s most needed to the right place as fast as possible.

This time last year I had just come back from a wonderful week in Ha'apai. its very sad to see all the destruction of family homes, gardens, boats and businesses. It brings home the reality of human induced climate change.

The theme of this year’s festival is ‘we are ocean’. Here in the Pacific the ocean is part of our everyday lives. Often it is nurturing and enjoyable, sometimes terrifying. It is part of how and where we live. Taking care of the ocean is important to us. It is part of Wellington’s environmental leadership role as a capital city in the Pacific.

We take our environmental responsibility seriously. We are just about to help 10 Wellington Schools cut their electricity bills and improve their environmental sustainability with the installation of solar panels in partnership with Genesis Energy. many homes have been insulated with our help. Find our WCC staff to find out more about how your home can be warmer and healthier.

We are also using the June 2013 storms as a way to highlight sea level rise, its impact on Wellington and what we can do to manage the situation. In February we will be talking to the public about how we should rebuild the Island Bay sea wall.

This festival is one of over 50 events that the Council puts on as part of our Summer City programme. Certainly one of the biggest, and most colourful .

Our Pasifika Festival is a showcase of the Pacific and recognises that we all are people of the Pacific. Great food, traditional performances and 'have-a-go' activities like traditional craft making.

The festival shows the important contribution Wellington’s Pacific people make to the city’s vibrant community life

The Wellington region is home to many people from different Pacific Island nations.

We are a diverse, multicultural and incredibly creative city; our creativity flows from our cultural connectivity to the Pacific and beyond. When I was in Tonga last year, someone said that Wellington is an excellent model of how Pacific communities connect with other cultures. You are a vital part of Wellington.

I’d like to acknowledge some of the people and organisations who support Pasifika and help make this happen:

  • Cr Paul Eagle and Sarah Free and the councillors who are here today
  • New Zealand Community Trust
  • Flava 104 FM
  • Vendors, performers and our Council events staff

I’d also like to acknowledge the Pacific Advisory Group here today, especially Tina McNicholas the chair and our Festival sub-committee who assisted the Council Events Team on today’s event. The Group was established in 2003 as a link between the Council and Wellington's Pacific communities. The PAG helps consultation with Pacific communities and helping the Council understand their needs and PAG shows leadership in emergency management.

Council supports some other great initiatives: A community Garden - Togalaau aina (vegetable garden for women) – through the Samoan Methodist Church, the recently formed Pacific Art Network (which is working very well), Climate Change discussions and the importance of joint stewardship, care for environment and we have had workshops highlighting what households and individuals can do.

I encourage you all to attend the next Pacific Forum, Monday 24 February, St Giles Presbyterian Church, Kilbirnie. This forum will be an opportunity for you to share your views on our plans for the future, particularly our draft annual plan for the coming year. It is also an opportunity for you to hear from the Pacific Advisory Group about their work. This will be a great opportunity for you to connect with the Council and have input into we work with and serve the Pacific community in Wellington.

We’re please the stunning soul-sister Bella Kalolo and her band are headlining todays festival. Bella is well-known as one of Wellington’s most entertaining performers, and her 'I'm Every Woman' duet with the legendary Chaka Khan onstage at Sydney Festival Summer Sounds last week made us all so very proud.

Remember to support Tonga with a donation today. As we celebrate who we are.

We are people of the Pacific. We are people of the Ocean. And we are people of Wellington - the coolest little capital in the world!