Taste of Pasifika spreads warm vibes across Auckland

Corazon Miller
Source: 1News

The warm strum of Pacific tunes greeted visitors arriving at the colourful showcase of Aotearoa's Pacific peoples on Auckland's waterfront today.

Inside the festival venue, visitors were treated to a choice of a little bit of shopping, musical entertainment, food, or even a chance at a little bit of weaving.

The Taste of Pasifika festival is a smaller reincarnation of Pasifika - is an iconic event that's celebrated our diverse communities at Western Springs for most of the last thirty years.

READ MORE: Auckland's Pasifika Festival cancelled due to coronavirus fears, impact on communities involved

It was scheduled for March this year - but as Omicron peaked it was cancelled - just the latest in a string of disruptions the event's faced over the last three years.

The smaller version kicked off at Auckland's the Cloud this weekend and will see other events spread across the city, at Auckland Zoo, Mt Smart Stadium, and the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, over the next couple of weekends.

Despite the change, those there today are just happy the festival was going ahead at all.

Artist Ema Taveola says the festival was a chance to celebrate and remember the Pacific people.

"It's a smaller scale, but the energy we bring with our performance and our food is still here, so I love it," she says.

"To align it with Matariki as well, as indigenous people of this land, it's a lovely alignment."

Pulusea Seumanu says it was also a chance to share with the public the range of different Pacific cultures.

"Being able to express ourselves, to have food, see the dancing and see a lot of old friends. [But also] to talk about those that aren't represented in the wider range, from Kiribati, to Tokelau to Tuvalu."

Auckland Unlimited chief executive Nicholas Hill says after a tough three years it was "fantastic" to see events returning to the city.

"Auckland's Tamaki Makaurau is the biggest Pasifika city in the world and we need to be celebrating," he says. "We are blessed with the weather, and over the next few days we will see a steady stream of people into the city centre."

He says the increased foot traffic expected across the festival is particularly welcome in the CBD, where businesses have been hard hit by this pandemic.