29 Feb 2020

Pasifika celebrated and empowered in NZ's Northland

5:45 pm on 29 February 2020

Pacific cultures are being celebrated in New Zealand's Northland region this weekend at the Northland Pasifika Fusion Festival.

A performance during the 2018 Northland Pasifika Fusion Festival.

A performance during the 2018 Northland Pasifika Fusion Festival. Photo: Northland Pasifika Fusion Festival

About 5000 Pacific people call Northland home, with the largest age group being 0-4 years.

The islands are referred to as villages in the festival and this year the village of Niue will be hosting the event at Whangarei's Hihiaua Cultural Centre.

The theme is omai ke fiafia au loa moe tau tagata pasifika meaning to come and celebrate together with our Pasifika people.

Festival director Pania Moulton said the aim of the festival was not only to celebrate Pacific people, but to empower the community.

"This festival started in 2014 and it was initiated by a small group within the Whangarei Council and the Pacific community living here, wanting to share the Pacific cultures with others," she said.

"It started off small and as the years have gone by, it has been getting bigger and better."

About 2100 Pacific people reside in Whangarei.

"The Pacific community is growing and continuing to grow. We have got a large group of Pacific people in Whangarei, Dargaville and Kaitaia," Ms Moulton said.

"The community is spread across Northland and they will all be travelling in for the festival, even from Auckland, to perform or sell handicrafts or make their traditional food to sell.

"We are a grassroots festival, but we want to let people from Te Tai Tokerau [Northland] know that there are Pacific people here. We are not visitors to the region anymore. That is my goal, to educate people of Northland about us.

"What I hope people take from this festival is that they are able to travel around the Pacific in one day without having to purchase a plane ticket.

"We are an up and coming community here in Northland and there is a lot of negative profiling that goes on with Pacific people, so we want to change that."