Niuean community celebrate hosting Northland's Pasifika Fusion Festival

By Te Ao - Māori News

The cultures of the Pacific came together today in Whangarei to celebrate the Pasifika Fusion Festival.  Now in its sixth year, the small community of Niueans living in Northland were this year's hosts.

A first for the flag of Nuie flying over the Hihiaua Peninsula today at the Pasifika Fusion Festival.

Maka Siafa (Nuie) says the festival is for all Pacific peoples.

"Nuie because we’re hosting it and not just for Nuieans, but Samoans, Tongans, Cook Islanders, Tuvalu and Fijians, all of the Pacific peoples who reside here in Northland."

Partner Vicky Stephens says all the family are involved.

"Yes, our children and my husband are Niuean from Tuapa and Makefu.  And our families are here supporting us to prepare food for all of us.  You can call it Nuiean cuisine like takihi, which is made of taro and popo and is yummy."

In its sixth year, it is seen as a great honour for the small Niuean community in Northland to host this year's event.

"While we’re all peoples of the Pacific, each island is different so it's only right that we gather to celebrate that," Willow Jean Prime (Te Kapotai) says.

"I’ve eaten chop suey, which is a favourite Pacific food, along with a fresh surimi salad and raw fish.  And while my grandfather made a great raw fish, these senior ladies are fantastic."

The onstage hosts were also some of Niue's most famous faces.

"Identity, culture, taonga and everything that is Niuean. Myself, I’ve been born and raised I’ve done my stint around the world and now I'm back based in Niue, the language is the forefront for me to take around the world.  And to come all the way Te Taitokerau, ah too much, blessed!," Kaihautū, Glen Jackson says.

In these last days of summer, you cannot beat a relaxing day of food and cultural entertainment with the people of the Pacific.

"It's great that we can all relate in the knowledge that we are the indigenous people of this island and also knowing that they’re our elder siblings perhaps," Te Warahi Hetaraka (Ngāti Wai) says.

Siafa says, "I give thanks to the creator and to Māori of this land for supporting our hosting of this year's Pasifika Fusion Festival here at Hihiaua,"

Report by Dean Nathan for Te Ao.