Brazil fest takes off
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.’’