9 Mar 2012

Pasifika Festival turns 20

8:51 am on 9 March 2012

A leading Cook Islands composer says Auckland's Pasifika Festival is a leading force in keeping his culture and language alive in New Zealand.

The festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this weekend.

Jacob Samson and his group Drums of the Pacific will perform at the free opening concert at Western Springs from 7pm on Friday.

Mr Samson says Cook Islands culture and language is under threat in New Zealand and the festival plays an important role in its survival.

"This festival is actually telling us not to give up, do something about it," he says.

Organiser Ole Maiava says the lineup of top performers from around New Zealand and the Pacific shows the festival is more than just an Auckland event.

The festival features contemporary artists like David Dallas, Bella Kalolo and Upper Hutt Posse alongside music, dance, arts and food from 10 Pacific nations.

The Pasifika Festival Day runs from 10am on Saturday.