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Multicultural festival pumps up the fun

From line dancing to Lion Dancing and everything in between, the Tairawhiti Cultural Festival will burst upon us this Sunday. Last year was its first outing, celebrating the many cultures here through a colourful set of multicultural performances, exhibitions and activities from all over the world.

Lidan, one of this year’s organisers, said the Tairawhiti Lantern Festival last year was packed and the carpark overflowing. This year with a change of name, it’s at the Soundshell at Midway Beach from midday through to 5pm.

And it’s free.

“This year we want to focus on our local stories because Gisborne has such variety and diversity, and we want to celebrate that, all the people from Gisborne,” she said.

“The performances are a huge part of the festival, and we have high school bands, we have a Chinese band, some are local, west meets east. We will have a folk group singing songs from all over the world, the Gisborne Pipe Band, line dancing, zumba, and a group from South America playing Chilean and Brazilian music.”

It would be a celebration and an invitation for people to join in, rather than an offering of “perfect” performances, she said.

“We want to encourage everyone to jump in. It’s about celebrating who we are and where we’re from,” she said.

“We’re inviting exhibitions — we have an Argentinian visual artist and we have the ethnic multicultural society coming in to do an exhibition. It’s going to be a big day.”

As well as the performances there will be food, with more than a dozen stallholders confirmed offering Indian, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Pasifika and Thai food.

Walter Walsh TheWiz will emcee the festival again this year, and the Mayor Rehette Stoltz and former mayor Meng Foon have also confirmed they will be there.

“We really want to thank Gisborne District Council who have been so supportive,” Lidan said.

“They’ve given us the site for free and helped us connect with traffic management people.

“We will also have an opening whakatau by Ngai Tawhiri, so it will be huge.”

The festival will go ahead unless the weather turns bad. The soundshell is under cover and the food vendors will be under gazebos, so bring your brolly if it looks overcast.

YEE HA: If you want to get boot scootin’, Sunday is the day for it as the Rhythm ‘n’ Lines group will be looking for volunteers to join them. The group will be one of many multicultural acts at the Tairawhiti Cultural Festival, at the Soundshell opposite Midway Beach. Pictures supplied
SOUTH AMERICAN SOUNDS: Lars and the Clandestinos will be on board this Sunday with their Latin American music. Picture supplied