Pasifika Festival, being held on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March at Western Springs Park, will be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Considered the largest festival of its type in the world, it attracts over 225,000 visitors every year, the free and family-friendly festival is a great way to experience the diverse cultures of our Pacific whanau.
11 villages representing the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Aotearoa, Hawaii, Kiribati, Samoa, Tahiti, Tuvalu, Tonga and Tokelau will be found spread out throughout Western Springs.
Anniversary celebrations are already underway with a live art installation happening at the Lower Queen Street Plaza, out the front of Britomart Station.
Artists Charles and Janine Williams are on site daily from 10am - 2pm working on the 40 metre temporary mural.
The mural – called The Pacific Journey – celebrates 25 years of the Pasifika Festival.
It references the 11 different Pacific nations represented at the festival, the great Polynesian navigators who risked their lives in search of new land and broader futures for their people, and their skills, including celestial navigation and observing sea birds in their search for land.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) Head of Major Events, Charmaine Ngarimu says the mural graces one of Auckland’s major arrival points, where thousands of commuters and visitors will see it each day.
“Tāmaki Makaurau is the largest Polynesian city in the world, and Pasifika the largest cultural festival of its kind in the world,” says Ngarimu.
“Marking 25 years of the Pasifika Festival with art that recognises the navigational journey of many of our ancestors, in one of Auckland’s main connection points seems a fitting tribute to the voyage the festival has been on and will continue to traverse into the future.”
There will be a cooking competition, PAK’NSAVE Ultimate Kaimaster Food Awards judged by actor and renowned screenwriter Oscar Kightley, along with celebrity foodies Robert Oliver and My Kitchen Rules’ Aaron and Heather Freeman.
Picking top three dishes, recognised for using traditional techniques to create healthy, authentic Pacific Island food, from over 50 dishes created by Pasifika food stallholders.
Winners will be presented with their awards on Saturday lunchtime (Cook Island stage), allowing visitors plenty of time to try the winning dishes.
A special 25th anniversary showcase will take place on Saturday afternoon (Samoan stage) featuring Ura Tabu Dance Group and Resonate performing their Moana mash-up.
While Saturday has a festive and busy vibe, Sunday is a good choice for those who prefer a more relaxed pace.
Resonate will be kicking off the day’s activities with a choral anniversary celebration with other singing groups in Fiji village at 10am.
Download a map of the festival layout here.