The Sounds and Flavours of Pasifika Come Together in Wellington

9 January 2015

The sights, sounds and flavours of the Pacific come to Wellington’s Waitangi Park on 17 January at the Wellington Pasifika Festival.

Wellington Pasifika Festival poster

Wellington Pasifika Festival

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The annual festival attracts over 10,000 people each year. It's a standout event in the Wellington regional and national calendar.

Performers from Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Fiji, Tokelau, Solomon Islands, and for the first time Papua New Guinea, bring a day of traditional and contemporary music, performances, delicious food, and activities.

Councillor Paul Eagle, Chair of council’s Community, Sport and Recreation Committee, teams up with MC’s, The Laughing Samoans, for the much anticipated chop suey tasting competition.

“It’s always a tough task – but we carefully assess the meat, vermicelli noodles and the type of dark soy sauce used.  Samoa has won twice in a row; will they be able to do it again?"

Food lovers can look forward to Tongan donuts, faikakai and lusipi, Samoan chop suey, coconut loaf and oka. There will be raw fish and Vakalolo from Fiji, bunia with roast pork and beef and fish salad, served in coconut shells from Vanuatu plus many more mouth-watering dishes from the Cook Islands and Niue.

There will be arts and craft stalls with demonstrations from Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Fiji, Niue, Cook Islands and Samoa and a fitness class with the kuia from Mafutaga Tagata Matutua dance group at 2pm. A new addition is the Pasifika film bus, which will be parked up onsite. Visitors can jump on board and watch an exciting compilation of Pacific short films.

Some of the onstage highlights include ten year olds Sean and Nikita who hail from Samoa and are rock ‘n’ roll champions. They were recently placed first in the Wellington Regionals and are off to Christchurch for the Nationals but not before they dance at Pasifika.

Renowned for its colourful costumes and masks, the Papua New Guinea Wellington Community will tell one of their many stories through traditional tribal war dance.

Later in the afternoon high energy Taulanga Ū Brass Band will bring down the house. If you haven’t already experienced this powerhouse of Tongan Brass Bands then now’s your chance. 

Council Events Coordinator Suzanne Tamaki says that Pasifika is one of her favourite events of the year. “It’s Wellington’s chance to showcase the best of Pacific Island culture, food, craft, art and performance.” 

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown will be launching the first Wellington central Pasifika Community Patrol group at Wellington's Pasifika Festival.  The volunteer initiative is being set-up jointly by the New Zealand Police, Council and Wellington’s Pasifika communities in partnership with Community Patrol New Zealand.

Police co-ordinator and strong advocate for the group, Constable Loretta Hunt-Tevaga, is looking forward to the launch.

“This group of wonderful people are leading the way for us, our families and our community. This is only the beginning to something big not only for the Pasifika but for all of New Zealand.”

Closing the day is Wellington based eight-piece band Tomorrow People, purveyors of what they describe as ‘sunshine reggae’. It is a sound built around strong vocals, soothing harmonies, catchy hooks, ragga raps, and feel good rhythms.

Together, the 8-piece band have decades of experience in the music industry, citing previous careers in hip-hop, R&B, gospel, funk and soul.

Exhibiting at Enjoy Gallery from 10-24 January, Between Wind and Water is timed to coincide with Wellington’s Pasifika Festival. Ema Tavola is one of the top Pacific curators in New Zealand. Ema and three Pacific artists will also be exhibiting their work at Pasifika.

Wellington Pasifika Festival Programme (215KB PDF)

Saturday 17 January, Waitangi Park from 12 noon to 6pm (formal opening at 12 noon).

Rain day: Monday 19 January.