22 Jun 2018

Rotuma group looks to build connections through NZ

3:03 pm on 22 June 2018

A visiting Rotuman dance troop aims to build reconnections with its history, community and youth in New Zealand.

This week, Rako Pasefika held fundraisers and dance workshops and put on matinee shows for local South Auckland school children.

Rako Pasefika dancers

Rako Pasefika dancers Photo: Rako Pasefika

Creative director Letila Mitchell said part of their mission was to also empower youth and share indigenous knowledge from elders both in Fiji and abroad.

"It's a way for our urban international youth to connect back to the islands," Ms Mitchell said.

"Also a lot of our elders who have moved internationally.

"We have a huge base of elders here in Auckland and for us it is an opportunity for us to bring our young people to them and reconnect, learn stories. Because a lot of our arts and creative culture has died out, we have lost our tapa, our tattoos, a lot of our old dances have gone," she said.

Ms Mitchell said they were also not afraid to produce new work that explored the impact of ongoing violence in their community.

Rako Pasefika has its debut performance at the Pacific Dance Festival this weekend, entitled 'Cloaks of Protection'.