3 Jun 2022

Taste of Pasifika is back for 3 weekends at AK's Cloud

From First Up, 5:42 am on 3 June 2022

After years of cancellations, Auckland's Pasifika Festival is back this month with a series of events over the next three weekends.

From Friday 3 June, people keen to taste the Pacific can head to the festival's Food Alley in The Cloud at Auckland's Waterfront and catch cultural events there and at other venues around the city.

Faces of Pasifika

Images from the 2018 Pasifika Festival Photo: RNZ/ Koroi Hawkins

The Pasifika Festival is usually held in Western Springs every March, but a "heartbreaking" run of cancellations has meant Auckland hasn't had one since 2018.

"It's really important for the Auckland community to finally have a Pasifika food and cultural festival taking place, event producer Torise Flay tells RNZ's Nathan Rarere.

After this year's Pasifika Festival was cancelled back in February, a lot of planning has gone into bringing food-stall holders, performers, and retailers together to showcase the Pacific this June, she says.

This year's festival offers the "best bits" of the usual March festival, including food from all 11 Pacific islands.

Every single island has a signature dish people will come to the villages and taste, Flay says.

"In Samoa, you will get the iconic chop suey, which for those who don't know, it is vermicelli cooked with special meat and sauce… in the Cook Islands you've got the mainaise salad [a potato salad made pink with beetroot] which is super, super rich and shouldn't be taken if you have high blood sugar levels."

The Mama's Hangi stall usually has a line-up before it even opens, she says.

"You can't walk past the hangi from Aotearoa."

Performers from all 11 islands of the Pacific will perform at the festival, which also hosts an art exhibition, a fashion show, a climate change talanoa (conference) and Pasifika-inspired workouts by boxer-turned-motivational speaker Dave Letele.

For music-lovers, the festival offers three Sunday Soul Sessions at Mt Smart Stadium's Lillyworld (including hit band Ardijah on 19 June).

Note - there are no EFTPOS facilities or ATMs at The Cloud so people are advised to bring cash.

Pasifika and Māori recipes from the RNZ collection:

Fijian-Pākehā artist Ema Tavola's work 'Grounded' features in the Moonwalkerz art exhibition at The Cloud:

Māori-Cook Islands Māori artist Leilani Kake's work “Orokohanga Ō Tara” also features in the Moonwalkerz art exhibition at The Cloud:

Samoan artist, Raymond Sagapolutele's work 'Untitled' also features  in the Moonwalkerz art exhibition at The Cloud:

Keith Toma, founder of the skincare brand Panikeke, features in the Pasifika Showcase at The Cloud: