Locals welcome the return of Pasifika Festival

By Mānia Clarke
  • Auckland

Thousands of people returned to Western Springs in Auckland for the 24th Pasifika Festival which kicked off today. The two day annual event was relocated to South Auckland last year, because of fruit fly found in the area, but has now returned to its original location.

The vibe at Pasifika was pumping with plenty of food, goods and culture on display.

Auckland’s Western Springs community were glad to have the festival back in their home town.

“Oh it's good to be back in Western Springs,” says local resident.

There are 11 authentic Pacific Island villages with their own performance stage and market setting, to tempt browsers.

Designer Ellena Tavioni brought her clothes to sell to festival goers, “Our clothing are all designed and made in the Cook Islands, we handprint all our fabrics, and we have a little store here in Onehunga, and we also come to Pasifika to promote our range to all the visitors.”

Since Pasifika first began the event has grown over the years.

“My understanding about the Pasifika, the number of countries that are represented have expanded since the beginning,” says Tavioni.

Queen Pa Ariki of Takitumu, Rarotanga, says the occasion also reaffirms relationship ties, “Ee brought our culture here, which we feel is good because our tuakana is the Māori here, who come here, and share what we have in our culture back home.”

Organisers say around 40, 000 visitors have enjoyed today’s events, and they're expecting a smaller crowd tomorrow.