Preparations are well underway for the popular Pasifika Festival with hundreds of performers, artists and artisans taking part.
The vibrant festival is set to take place at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday, 10 April (10am-8pm) and Sunday, 11 April, (10am-4pm).
Thousands are expcted to attend the two-day festival that celebrates the Pacific cultures of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland with music, dance, arts, crafts, demonstrations, storytelling and food.
Richard Clarke, Head of Major and Business Events at Auckland Unlimited, says there is great anticipation for Pasifika Festival this year.
“After being cancelled for the last two years, it is fantastic to be able to proceed with Pasifika Festival this year,” says Clarke. “It’s an iconic event that celebrates our wonderful Pacific communities and brings together family, friends and communities.
“Pasifika is a must-attend event if you want to experience the sights, sounds and flavours of the Pacific. There will be fantastic performances, vibrant costumes and delicious food.”
Eight villages will be set up with nine Pacific Island nations represented this year. Seven of the eight villages will feature the Pacific nations of Aotearoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu.
Each village has a performance stage where cultural groups will perform traditional and contemporary dances. Market stalls selling signature dishes, arts and crafts unique to each culture will also be set up in each village.
The eighth village, new to the festival this year, is the Fale Pasifika Village that will host the islands of Hawai’i and Kiribati alongside a jam-packed line-up of live acts and performances.
On Saturday afternoon, the Pacific youth choir and orchestra, Sistema Aotearoa, will take to the Fale Pasifika Village stage along with Pacific dance group, Ura Tabu.
Sunday’s Fale Pasifika Village line-up includes New Zealand singer songwriter Seth Haapu and Lavina Williams, a musical artist and winner of the 2017 Benny Award ‘Pacific Entertainment Award for Top Female Vocalist’.
The final act to take to the Fale Pasifika Village on Sunday 11 April is the legendary George ‘Fiji’ Veikoso. His fusion of reggae, hip-hop and R&B has garnered him a huge international following and he is widely considered a pioneer of the Pacific Island sound.
Pasifika is the perfect way to take a culinary tour of the Pacific. Transport your taste buds to the tropics and check out the dozens of food stalls.
Sample super-fresh seafood, or pre-prepared hāngī or umu washed down with a tropical banana smoothie or the refreshing Tongan watermelon drink, otai. Don’t forget to make room for dessert as there will plenty of sweet treats on offer.
With thousands of people expected to attend Pasifika the area around Mt Smart Stadium will be busy. Plan your trip to the festival by using the Auckland Transport Journey Planner. The nearest train station to Mt Smart is Penrose, which is a 10-15 minute walk from the stadium. Face coverings are mandatory on public transport.
A free park and ride service between Waikaraka Park and Mt Smart Stadium will be operating on both festival days. No bookings are required with shuttles running on a 30-minute schedule from 10am until the festival closes. Face coverings will be required on the shuttles.
There is no on-site parking at the stadium with limited parking on the surrounding streets. Local businesses will open premises for parking for a small fee. Beasley Ave will be closed.
For transport options visit: Transport & accessibility | Aucklandnz.com
Weather and site info
The festival will go ahead in rain or shine so plan for all weather conditions - bring sunscreen, a hat and a raincoat. Guide dogs, mobility scooters are allowed on-site.
Some vendors may not have Eftpos facilities so please bring cash. A cash-out facility is available on-site. Please be reminded that Pasifika Festival is a smoke and alcohol-free event.
Pasifika can only go ahead under Alert Level 1 and will be delivered in line with Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidelines. Festival goers will be encouraged to scan in using the QR code at the main gates and to have the Bluetooth tracing function switched on. QR codes will be prominently displayed throughout the festival venue.
Hand sanitiser stations and the COVID-19 Sani Squad will be available as well. We urge anyone who is unwell to stay home and if they display any COVID-19 symptoms or are required to be in isolation for any reason.
The free event is delivered by Auckland Unlimited on behalf of Auckland Council, in partnership with The Pasifika Festival Villages Charitable Trust.
Photo credit: NZ Herald/ Jason Oxenham