New Zealand’s largest cultural celebration – the Auckland Pasifika Festival – is back next year and will feature two new events to set the scene for the iconic festival.
There’ll be more Pasifika than ever before with the inaugural Pasifika Village Games kicking off on 4 March followed by Sunday Soul Session on 12 March, before Pasifika Festival itself returns to Western Springs from 18-19 March. The new events come as Pasifika Festival looks to build the celebration in the future, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
The Pasifika Village Games follow on from the success of the movement-inspired Super Saturdays in 2022, but with a village twist. The multi-sport tournament will see social teams entered by village of origin competing in netball and touch rugby to bring home the win at Bruce Pulman Park.
Women’s and mixed social teams are welcome to enter the netball, along with men's, women's and mixed teams for the touch tournaments. Registration is $100 per team and is now open until 31 January 2023. Family, friends, and communities are welcome to come along and cheer on their home team. Entry to the tournament is free, and there will be Pacific food stalls, a village hub with entertainment, and activities for kids to make it a great day out for all.
Then, it’s time to warm up Western Springs for the main event with the Pasifika Soul Sessions just one week before the Pasifika Festival. This free one-day Pacific music festival is the perfect opportunity to relax in the park and soak up the sun and soulful tunes with your friends and whānau. R&B, soul and more are on the menu with a stellar line-up of Pacific artists including Brotherhood Musiq and Adeaze.
As part of the Creative and Cultural Events Incubator investment fund, MBIE committed funding in 2022 for the development of an international growth strategy for the Pasifika Festival and is currently discussing support to build on this in 2023. The two new events expand the festival beyond a single weekend and include new elements to grow Pasifika Festival’s appeal to international audiences.
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s Head of Major Events, Chris Simpson, says the additional events are an exciting development for the festival. “After the success of Taste of Pasifika in 2022, we can’t wait to deliver the first full Pasifika Festival in three years at its home in Western Springs.”
“This is one of Auckland’s most beloved festivals, and we know the community is keen to get back to celebrating Pacific cultures together. With the Pasifika Village Games and Pasifika Soul Sessions leading up to the event, we’re able to give Aucklanders and visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in Pacific cultures over three weekends.”
The full programme for the Pasifika Festival will be released in February.
Find out more about Pasifika Festival and sign up your team at aucklandnz.com/pasifika