Our Wellington

News | 22 December 2020

Pasifika Festival brings taste of the islands to the capital

Kia ora, Noa'ia, Mauri, Ni Sa Bula Vinaka, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Tālofa, Kia orana, Mālō e lelei, Mālō nī, Talofa lava, Tēnā koutou katoa – the annual Wellington Pasifika Festival will be showcasing the sights, sounds, and flavours of the Pacific at Odlins Plaza on Saturday 23 January 2021.

Image of entertainers at Pasifika event

This festival highlights the arts, culture, and food of our Pacific communities in a festival atmosphere for everyone to enjoy, says Deputy Mayor Sarah Free.

“It’s an opportunity for all of Wellington to celebrate and share the knowledge, values and beliefs of the Pacific.

“It’s also a chance to support the vision that Wellington is a vibrant, diverse and creative capital – one that we’re all proud to be a part of.” 

There’ll be performance groups from all across the Pacific including Mafutaga Tagata Matutua Senior Exercise Group, Israel Star, and opera legend Ben Makisi. The free, whānau friendly event will be hosted by award-winning comedian James Nokise.

James is looking forward to the event for many reasons, not just because he’ll be a judge in the always popular Pacific Cook-Off!

“As mixed race, from a Pacific point of view this event is about reminding, reconnecting with our heritage that informs and, in many ways, empowers our strong contributions to New Zealand. From a non-Pacific view it’s about the best food, music, and dance in Wellington being easily available in one spot.”

James usually lives in London and just “popped back” to Wellington for his parents’ birthdays in early March and has been here since – but he’s philosophical about what 2021 will bring.

“I’ll just be enjoying being with people in New Zealand. I’ve got a lot of friends and family overseas, so I think it’s on us here to enjoy how we can gather in large groups safely and have these festivals. 

“If I appear particularly joyful and enthusiastic on stage, that’ll be why!”

As well as food trucks and arts and craft stalls, there’ll also be hula dance workshops, cake decorating and costume making – and the aforementioned Pacific Cook-Off with guest judges James and MP Paul Eagle.  

Pasifika Festival 2021 | Free entry
When: Saturday 23 January 2021
Time: 12 noon–6pm
Where: Odlins Plaza
Visit: wellington.govt.nz/summercity or wellington.govt.nz/pasifika for information on this event, and many more.

For updates or postponements keep an eye on Wellington City Council’s Facebook page.