Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Te Puke Schools are ramping up for their biggest Pasifika Festival

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
The Bay of Plenty’s Pasifika Festival is back this year, after two years of cancellations from Covid-19. Photo: Miki Nakagawa/Drops Photography.
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Kendall Vano | Reporter

Te Puke schools have combined to host the Bay of Plenty’s biggest Pasifika Festival. Bringing together over 30 Pasifika performance groups from across the Bay. 

“Previous years crowds have reached the thousands and organisers believe that moving the festival to a Saturday will result in this year being bigger than ever. The committee behind the festival has grown over the years, along with the size of the event with a focus on promoting Pasifika culture.” says founding member, Mike Douglas.

“Three Te Puke schools have combined forces Te Puke Primary, Intermediate and High School. This is a great way for the Pasifika students and families to strengthen relationships with the schools and their wider community.” Says Mike. 

Local School Cultural groups have been rehearsing the past couple months. Students from the area have been working hard to bring to the stage their traditional dances.

“Pasifika Festival in the Bay, is a vibrant celebration of the unique cultures of the Pacific Islands through dance and food with a focus on the younger generation.” 

Event manager Mel Cottingham confirmed prominent Pasifika performances at the event. 

“Performances ranging from the Siva Samoa and Sasa, Cook Island Ura and Tamure, Kiribati Maie, Niue Ta me, Tonga Fakame’ite and Tau’olunga and many more” Cottingham Shares.

With Te Puke set to host the Pasifika in the Bay Trust, Cottingham details the connection to the region. And how the festival offers up an opportunity to celebrate their cultural heritage.

“We like to move our festival around each year in Tauranga-Moana to expose our Pacific culture to our whole community. A large population of Pacific people live and work in Te Puke, the Kiwifruit capital of the world, including Kiribati, Tuvalu and ni Vanuatu.” 

Tahatai School performing at the 2017 Pasifika in the Bay festival. Photo: Nikki South

“There are RSE workers who we would like to come and fellowship with their Pacific family as we know the challenges of living away from our Island families.” Cottingham says.

This year’s event will be showcasing representatives with nations from across the Pacific.  Performances from Niue, Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga and more. 

Pasifika teachers within the Bay of Plenty area connected with the vision to raise Pasifika achievement within the school system by giving students a platform to showcase their culture.

Alongside performances will be market style stalls packed with authentic foods from the islands to tempt the taste buds. 

Cottingham expresses “The Pasifika in the Bay Trust are so excited to host the Pasifika Festival. We are looking forward to seeing our community come together to celebrate our childrens’ Pacific identities, languages and cultures. Chee-hoo!” 

Pasifika Festival in the Bay will be held at Jubilee Park, Te Puke, Saturday 29th October 2022. Performances will be between 9.30am – 4.30pm.



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