Brazil fest takes off

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABADIA

The sights, sounds and tastes of Brazil are com­ing to Mt Al­bert this Sun­day.

The in­au­gu­ral Brazil­ian Day Fes­ti­val, which takes place in Rocket Park from 11am till 5pm, will show­case the vi­brancy of the South Amer­i­can coun­try, coor­gan­iser Sis­la­nia Vas­con­ce­los says.

‘‘Brazil is a warm coun­try and we have a lot of par­ties out­side so we thought it’d be great to have an event in a park,’’ the 37-year-old says.

It’s be­ing funded by Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board and the Em­bassy of Brazil and in­cludes en­ter­tain­ment by Braza Jam, AK Samba and DJs Bobby Brazuka and Lu­cas Datt.

Dancers from the Brazil­ian Di­vas and the Au Capoeira group will also take part in the day.

Food stalls will be serv­ing up var­i­ous Brazil­ian sta­ples from the bean, beef and pork stew known as fei­joada to tra­di­tional char­coal bar­be­cue, the cheese bread pao de queijo and the Ama­zo­nian berry drink acai.

Vas­con­ce­los is from the north­east­ern city of For­taleza but moved to Auck­land with her New Zealand hus­band in 2005.

They were only go­ing to be here a year but ended up stay­ing. It’s a move that suits the San­dring­ham res­i­dent well.

‘‘It’s calm here and the peo­ple are very friendly and wel­com­ing to­wards for­eign­ers.’’

She’s also one of the or­gan­is­ers of Brasileir­inho, a playgroup for Brazil­ian chil­dren ( Cen­tral Leader, March 14, 2014).

Although the Brazil­ian pop­u­la­tion makes up only 1 per cent of the New Zealand pop­u­la­tion, their num­bers are on the in­crease, Vas­con­ce­los says.

In 2001 Brazil­ians num­bered just over 500 na­tion­wide but 12 years later they had reached al­most 3000, ac­cord­ing to the 2013 New Zealand Cen­sus.

About 40 per cent of Brazil­ians live in Auck­land and the ma­jor­ity of them are in the Waitem­ata and Al­bert Eden Lo­cal Board ar­eas.

Event co-or­gan­iser Jessye Pur­cell, 35, also ar­rived in 2005.

The Mt Eden res­i­dent is orig­i­nally from the cen­tral west­ern state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

She in­tended to come for six months to learn English but stayed af­ter be­ing of­fered a job.

‘‘At the time I thought it was a great life­style.

‘‘Auck­land felt big but still quite safe.

‘‘You have op­tions of go­ing to plays and con­certs and you’ve got parks and beaches close by and things like that.’’

Vas­con­ce­los says she hopes the free fes­ti­val will be­come an an­nual event.

‘‘We’re quite proud of who we are as a cul­ture.

‘‘I’m look­ing froward to sit­ting on a pic­nic mat, eat­ing Brazil­ian food, lis­ten­ing to the mu­sic and hear­ing peo­ple talk Por­tuguese while be­ing in a New Zealand con­text.’’

Proud cul­ture:

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