Pasifika festival set to be even bigger

A festival devoted to celebrating diverse Pasifika nations in the Bay of Plenty, will return to Tahatai School this October.

The festival, which is in its third year, brings students together from throughout Tauranga and will be held Wednesday October 25, with a postponement date on Friday October 27.

Organiser Mike Douglas says the festival is growing every year.

“We open it up to primary and intermediate schools to come and perform on stage.

“It’s a showcase where children can perform whatever they like as long as it represents the Pacific.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger. At first we started off with 10 schools now we’re up to 17 schools.

“Those who have performed continue to perform and they spread the word about how big it’s going to get.”

He says the festival gives the community a glimpse into the diversity of Polynesian cultures and increases the presence and promotion around it.

“Basically the festival is open to anybody the community, the parents of students performing and anyone who has an affiliation with the pacific island and feels like coming along.”

“It offers an awareness of what Pacific nations are represented in Tauranga and how much we need to start celebrating and embracing that,” says Mike.

“Pacific Islanders that come to reside in Tauranga and Bay of Plenty areas can offer a different kind of perspective, they bring culture and people are able to open their minds to it.”

“In the past there’s been Tongan groups who come from an area where there are strong Tongan communities, in Te Puke there’s a strong Kiribati community,”

“Here at Tahatai School we don’t have a very high percentage of Polynesians, but we have a small group of about 80 students, mainly Pakeha, who are super keen to be a part of it.”

The festival also helps to connect Polynesian students and people with one another in their own community.

“It’s really important to give the kids a sense of belonging,” says Mike.

“If you’re from the islands and you are in a small percentage of student in a school – if they see their culture represented they tend to grow in mana.”

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