Toke­lauans cel­e­brate

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

More Toke­lauans de­scended on Porirua dur­ing Easter than cur­rently re­side in the small Pa­cific Is­land na­tion, in a fes­ti­val that cel­e­brated all things cul­tural and sport­ing.

An es­ti­mated 5000 peo­ple were in at­ten­dance from all over the coun­try, with the bi­en­nial event now a far cry from its hum­ble be­gin­nings in 1972. A na­tional body has even been es­tab­lished to aid in its or­gan­i­sa­tion – Mafu­taga Tupu­laga Toke­lau I Niu Hila (MTTNH).

Around 6900 Toke­lauans live in New Zealand, the vast ma­jor­ity of these in this re­gion.

There was a youth fo­cus at this year’s fes­ti­val, the theme be­ing ‘Learn­ing from yes­ter­day, liv­ing to­day and hope for to­mor­row’.

MTTNH pres­i­dent Charles Kalolo Pate­le­sio said, ‘‘ The world is chang­ing but this fes­ti­val is our com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing our Toke­lau com­mu­nity is sus­tain­able as a cul­tural haven, that in­spires the younger Toke­lauan gen­er­a­tion to main­tain their cul­ture and iden­tity.’’

In bril­liant weather, Mana Col­lege hosted rugby league, rugby and tag, the Mun­gavin courts held net­ball and there was vol­ley­ball at Te Rau­paraha Arena. Cul­tural dance per­for­mances, meet­ings and other events were also held, with vis­i­tors hosted at var­i­ous halls, churches and camps.

Mana MP Kris Faafoi, who is of Toke­lau de­scent, said the week­end was ‘‘full on’’ and he loved be­ing part of it.

‘‘I re­ally en­joyed it at a fam­ily level too, catch­ing up with peo­ple I hadn’t seen for a while. The at­mos­phere was bril­liant and all the sport was played in a good spirit.’’

Pa­cific Is­land Af­fairs Min­is­ter and Mana-based List MP Hekia Parata con­grat­u­lated Porirua for em­brac­ing the fes­ti­val. Be­ing strong in lan­guage, cul­ture and iden­tity has a pos­i­tive ef­fect on ed­u­ca­tional achieve­ment and com­mu­nity well­be­ing, she said. ‘‘One in four New Zealand-born Toke­lauans speak their her­itage lan­guage and the fes­ti­val is an op­por­tu­nity to in­crease that.’’

Big hits: Taniela Tavite makes a surging run for his Hutt Val­ley B side dur­ing their de­feat of Porirua B.

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