Fes­ti­val ex­pand­ing

New acts fea­tured

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

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.

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