A fantastisch day in Kerikeri
Kerikeri’s Dutch Festival could become an annual event after more than 500 people turned out for the inaugural celebration at Kingston House on Saturday.
A children’s fleamarket, traditional games and a wide range of Dutch and Indonesian food were all on the agenda, but the the child-friendly focus shifted after 4pm, when the adults had their turn with a bar, a singer and a DJ playing Dutch favourites.
The festival marked Koningsdag, the official birthday of King WillemAlexander of the Netherlands, where April 27 is a public holiday and an excuse for a nationwide street party. It is celebrated in every village and town in the country, but nowhere more than in Amsterdam, where up to a million orange-clad revellers pack the streets and canals.
Koningsdag has been celebrated in the past at Whanga¯rei’s Arts Quarry, but Saturday’s event was a first for the Far North.
Monique Ansems, one of the organisers, said she was thrilled with the response.
“I’m blown away with how many people came, especially because it’s the first time,” she said.
People had come from as far away as Whanga¯rei, Mangawhai and Auckland, most dressing in orange, the national colour of the Netherlands.
Some were celebrating their Dutch heritage, while others were curious, or wanted to try the Dutch and Indonesian food.
Indonesian cuisine had become part of Dutch food culture due to the country’s colonial history in what was once the Dutch East Indies.
The menu included poffertjes (mini pancakes), oliebollen (Dutch doughnuts), salted herring, croquette rolls, and Indonesian dishes such as gado-gado and rendang, while children too part in games such as sjoelen (shuffleboard), stilt-walking, sack races, koekhappen (bite-the-cake) and spijkerpoepen (best not translated).
Hospitality students from QRC’s Tai Tokerau campus helped at the festival entrance and various food stalls.
In the 2013 Census, 1245 people out of Northland’s total population of just over 150,000 described themselves as Dutch.