Blossom festival blooms
Heavy rain sent cherry blossoms and festivalgoers in all directions during the International Spring Festival, but blue skies reappeared to light up the clouds of pink blossoms.
The annual festival was held on Saturday, and is timed for the cherry blossoms that line the grounds at Palmerston North’s Institute of the Pacific United (IPU) campus, a nod to its Japanese roots.
But it celebrates the multicultural make-up of the city and the campus, which is home to 24 different nationalities.
Despite the rain, somewhere between 5000 and 8000 people visited, IPU public relations and marketing co-ordinator Wayne Cooper said.
The festival had the highest number of performances yet, with wandering street performers popular, and students in traditional costume from their countries in demand to pose for photos under the blossoms.
Festival visitor Krista McJarrow-Keller, 17, said she enjoyed getting a taste of many cultures without leaving home.
‘‘It’s fantastic. It’s really important to experience different cultures and gain a broader per- spective.
‘‘I’ve eaten lots of food. There was great okonomiyaki [Japanese pancakes] and we did some calligraphy.’’
IPU student Kazuki Nakamura, from Kanagawa in Japan, was wearing traditional costume as part of the Kodama drumming group.
‘‘When I play drums I can explain my own passion, and when we play drums the [audience] is very excited, so it’s very good for us,’’ he said.
‘‘We have seen some other countries students perform their own cultures, and it’s interesting.’’
IPU students Rin Maruyama, left, and Yuki Ozawa, at the Spring Festival wearing yukata - traditional Japanese spring festival outfits.