A fan­tastisch day in Kerik­eri

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Peter de Graaf

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.

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