Many ethnic groups from all corners of the world have a presence in Auckland, making it New Zealand’s most cosmopolitan city. Europeans make up the majority of Auckland’s population, however substantial numbers of Māori, Pacific Islander and Asian peoples exist as well. According to Rough Guide to New Zealand, Auckland has the largest Polynesian population of any city in the world.
The iconic Pasifika Festival, also known as Pasifika, celebrated its 25th birthday in 2017. With free entry, it is the largest Pacific Islands-themed festival in the world, and attracts over 60,000 visitors every year.
Western Springs Park in Auckland transformed into 11 villages representing different Pacific Islands. Each village has a distinctly different vibe. From the peaceful setting of the Niue and Tuvalu villages, Hawaii’s smokey BBQ delights to the Aotearoa, Cook Island and Samoa villages for their renowned stage performances.
A group of Campbell students didn’t want to miss all the fun and went to Pasifika as part of their weekend activity. Yeny Paola Rivera Vargas, one of our Colombian students, wrote about her experience:
Pasifika Festival is an event where many people of different nationalities join together to experience Pacific culture. All of the performances were wonderful. The performers dressed in traditional costume and the music made me think of Hawaii! Everyone was so happy and kind. There were different activities for all ages. The food was delicious and the crafts were beautiful. Crafts included crowns made from flowers, necklaces, and earrings.
The idea came about in a lesson when we were discussing culture and habits around food and drinking. We realised just how many interesting and diverse behaviours there were for eating in each others’ countries, and what better way to explore them further than to actually eat and drink. We just had to decide where!
We are spoilt for choice in Auckland. It is such a multicultural city that it is virtually possible to find cuisine from any corner of the world. So, being a democratic class, a vote was held. Mexican was the eventual winner, with South Korean a close second.
For one of us, it was the first time to ever try Mexican food, and although several of us had eaten Mexican before, it was still plenty of fun to order unfamiliar dishes and taste new things.
The highlight of the night was the chance to get to know each other better outside the classroom. Our two Argentinean classmates – Marcia and Polo – taught us a few Spanish phrases, but it was great to chat in English and feel relaxed. We all agreed that another class dinner next month is a must-do. The only difficulty will be deciding where to go!