Pasifika Festival cancelled following Chch terror attack

By Jessica Tyson

Auckland’s Pasifika Festival has been cancelled following the terror attack in Christchurch last Friday.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development’s general manager Steve Armitage decided to cancel the event this weekend so that police could prioritise their resources on keeping Aucklanders safe.

“Initial discussions with New Zealand Police gave us hope that through the festival we would be able to bring Auckland’s communities together at this time of national mourning, Armitage says.

“However, given the unprecedented nature of what has happened we appreciate and respect that the New Zealand Police must prioritise resourcing to ensure the safety of all our communities across Tāmaki Makaurau.”

It comes after the final day of the ASB Polyfest was also cancelled last weekend.

ASB Polyfest event director Seiuli Terri Leo Mauu cancelled the last day of the festival because the shootings unsettled some of the performers, staff, schools and sponsors.

Mauu said if the event had gone ahead there would have been a significant presence of heavily armed police at the festival, “which would not have been appropriate for Saturday’s family day focus at the ASB Polyfest.”

About Pacifika

Between 40,000 and 60,000 visitors were expected to attend Pacifika on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival is the largest annual Pacific Island cultural festival of its kind in the world. featuring hundreds of local and international performers and artists.

The annual festival presents a wide variety of cultural experiences, including traditional cuisine and performances from Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Tahiti, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Kiribati and Aotearoa.

“Pasifika Festival will return bigger and brighter than ever in 2020,” Armitage says.