Wider focus for festival
Groups get together to fight family violence
The South Waikato Cultural Festival is expanding and rebranding as children throughout the district prepare to perform later this month.
Formerly known as the Polynesian Festival, the new name, South Waikato Cultural Festival is inclusive of the entire district.
South Waikato Cultural Festival committee chairman Jarrod Boon said the new move was not only incorporating the district, it was also acknowledging the other cultures within it.
‘‘We have a lot of different cultures in our district today. When the Polynesian Festival began our sole focus was the Polynesian and Maori cultures. What we are saying is, let’s involve all the cultures that make our district unique.’’
The festival will be held at the Putaruru Plaza this year, making it the first time it has been held outside the district.
‘‘We are moving it to the Putaruru Plaza this year because the venue is fantastic and we wanted to showcase Putaruru talent this year. Putaruru has always made the trip so now it’s our turn,’’ Mr Boon said.
Thirteen schools involved this year.
The festival is set for September 24 with tickets available from participating schools. Door sales will be available pending seating availability.
are Organisations are banding together to tackle issues facing South Waikato residents.
Tokoroa Council of Social Services, South Waikato Pacific Islands Health Committee, Salvation Army and Raukawa Settlement Trust have all teamed up to create the Family Centred Services Project, which launches this week.
Tokoroa Council of Social Services manager Gwenda Brodie said the project focused on families where violence had occurred – ‘‘Supporting families to make the changes so that violence doesn’t recur.
‘‘And putting them in the driving seat basically to identify how they want their lives to be different, to identify what kinds of changes they would like to make and supporting them through their process.’’
Ms Brodie said the project was very practical.
‘‘ Fundamentally what we are looking at is social work support; someone who covers a wide area – from assisting people, to get all of the benefits they are entitled to if that is an issue.
‘‘ So from South Waikato Pacific Islands Community Services’ point of view, what they are looking at doing is having a support worker who will be right there and be particularly focused on working with Pacific Island families,’’ she said.
Ms Brodie said the Salvation Army aimed to have a social worker who would be dedicated to families where family violence was an issue.
‘‘Working to involve wider families and communities in making positive change so that violence is unacceptable is a much longer-term goal but it is critically important because if we don’t have a wider community intolerance to family violence then we can’t possibly expect individuals or small families to try to make changes in isolation,’’ she said.
CULTURAL FESTIVAL: South Waikato Cultural Festival Committee Jarrod Boon outside the new venue for the South Waikato Cultural Festival.