Schools in union for Pa­cific pa­rade

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

The weather gods were smil­ing on Porirua last Wed­nes­day, turn­ing on glo­ri­ous spring sun­shine for the Strong Pa­cific Fam­i­lies Rugby Na­tions Pa­rade, de­spite a grim fore­cast and a freak hail­storm the day be­fore.

‘‘I think a lot of peo­ple prayed for this,’’ said Porirua City Coun­cil sports de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Faal­ogo Vaai.

About 2000 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in the pa­rade, which made its way through the CBD to Te Rau­paraha park, Mr Vaai said. Chil­dren from 20 Porirua and Tawa pri­mary schools marched in the pa­rade, wear­ing rugby uni­forms of the in­ter­na­tional teams they will rep­re­sent at to­day and to­mor­row’s Rugby Na­tions tour­na­ment.

Stu­dents from Maraeroa School, Pukerua Bay School, Holy Fam­ily School and St Pius X School saw the pa­rade from colour­ful floats, as they are rep­re­sent­ing the four teams train­ing in Porirua dur­ing the Rugby World Cup – Canada, Fiji, Wales and USA.

The pa­rade was led by com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives car­ry­ing flags of eight Pa­cific na­tions. A truck of Cook Is­land drum­mers and a Ton­gan brass band en­sured the pa­rade was heard be­fore it was seen by crowds in Ha­gley St.

The pa­rade fin­ished at Te Rau­paraha Park, where the crowd was en­ter­tained by a Pa­cific-style aerobics les­son, an Ar­gen­tinian tango demon­stra­tion and an im­promptu haka and Manu Siva Tau from the chil­dren.

‘‘It ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions. I think the big­gest draw­card was all the kids in uni­form,’’ said Mr Vaai. ‘‘I think the smiles we saw on the par­ents and on the school chil­dren, that was enough to tell the story.’’

The pa­rade is the only one of its kind in New Zealand, and is in­tended to cre­ate pride among Pa­cific Is­land fam­i­lies and to spread a mes­sage of non-vi­o­lence.

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Gau­cho gang:

Whitby’s Post­gate School went cow­boy

style as Ar­gentina. At front are Munoz Bracken, 9, and Ja­van Up­ton,

10.

Rus­sel­lma­nia: Rus­sell School pupils show some school spirit while rep­re­sent­ing Ja­pan in the pa­rade. Pic­tured are Tama Palmer, 10, Josiah Uitime, 11 (partly ob­scured), Sha­nia Dave, 10 (partly ob­scured), Lita Ni­marota, 10, Eli Filipo, 8, Tinivia Tuan­galu, 10, Joshua Ni­marota, 9, and Lopati La­pana, 9.

Aussie Aussie Aussie: Wai­tan­girua’s Tairangi School walked the pa­rade in high spir­its as Aus­tralia. In front are Troy­den Pairama, 10, Yan­nis Fale­fatu, 9, and Julie Omeri, 10. Be­hind are Kauri Reynolds, 10, John Filo, 9, and Malaesa Neli, 10.

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