Schools in union for Pacific parade
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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Whitby’s Postgate School went cowboy
style as Argentina. At front are Munoz Bracken, 9, and Javan Upton,
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.