New acts featured
Porirua’s Festival of the Elements just keeps growing and growing, says its organising committee chairman Bob Cater, as preparations continue towards its 22nd incarnation next month.
‘‘In fact, it’s outgrown itself on several occasions . . . and still seems to be getting bigger and bigger.’’
Last Waitangi Day the festival attracted more than 30,000 people to Te Rauparaha Park, the biggest number since its comparatively modest beginning at Aotea Lagoon in 1992.
‘‘Back then, we thought we would get a bit of a crowd – several hundred, maybe. But it was several thousand. We were overwhelmed and parking became our biggest problem. Aotea Lagoon was the ideal venue except for coping with the crowds. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t big enough for the numbers.’’
Mr Cater says the festival began with the idea that Waitangi Day should be a celebration of diversity and unity – a coming together in harmony of many different cul- tures.
‘‘We felt we all had something great to celebrate and that Waitangi Day was the most fitting occasion. We’re happy to say that thousands of people agree with us, obviously, and thousands are continuing to give their support.’’
The Festival of the Elements also uses the concept of creative power, each year emphasising a different theme from the elements of fire, water, earth and air. This year the theme is air.
‘‘There is plenty of scope for artistic expression movement and colour,’’ Bob Cater says. ‘‘And there is plenty of opportunity and freedom for individuals and groups to display the uniqueness of their cultures.’’
Programme organiser Margaret Armour says next month’s Waitangi Day is set to be the biggest ever held in Porirua.
‘‘ We have a lineup of top entertainers, performers and exhibitors along with a wide variety of stalls, workshops and displays.’’
There are some big differences and changes from previous festivals.
‘‘Some of the entertainment and acts are new and unusual,’’ Ms Armour says. ‘‘Some shows will be longer, up to 30 or 40 minutes. ‘‘It’s an exciting opportunity to share and enjoy our diverse cultures. All made possible by the Treaty signing.’’
Vibrant: The Festival of the Elements can be relied upon to bring a splash of colour and creativity to Porirua each Waitangi Day.