Pacific Youth Unite for Cultural Celebration

10 September 2009

Wellington's Opera House will be filled with the sounds of the Pacific when hundreds of local secondary-school students join forces for the annual Tu Tangata Wellington Polynesian Festival on Thursday 24 September.

Roughly translating to 'stand tall and be proud of who you are', Tu Tangata was initiated by Kara Puketapu - the former Secretary of Māori and Pacific Island Affairs. He saw the event as a way to showcase Pacific arts and culture while also providing young people with management and leadership experience.

This year's festival will feature cultural performances by Pacifika groups from schools from around the Wellington region and will be attended by the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Georgina Te Heuheu.

Year 13 Rongotai College student year Kevin Fa'galilo - one of the school's poly group leaders - says Tu Tangata is not really a competition, but rather a chance for young Pacific people to work together to celebrate their culture.

"I think one of the best things about Tu Tangata is that it's run by students. Getting involved in the organising and planning process is really awesome - I've learnt so many new skills and different ways of doing things."

Tu Tangata is a registered entity with a committee of secondary-school students and teachers who are supported by Wellington City Council as well other key stakeholders and sponsors. Tu Tangata also provides tertiary scholarships for seven students each year.

The festival will begin with a Haka Powhiri at 7.00pm. Tickets cost $5 for children (5 - 12 years), $10 for adults and $25 for family passes (two adults and three children). Tickets are available through Ticketek.