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Pacific Islands come together as one in Shepparton

Pacific Islands come together as one in Shepparton

Photo credit: Liz Arcus Photography

On November 24, 2018,  Victoria Park Lake in Shepparton will become home to a celebration of Pacific culture for the third annual Pasifika Festival, a joint initiative by Multicultural Arts Victoria, Australia Council for the Arts, Know Your Roots, and more.

From 3-8:30pm, the Shepparton community will come together to watch students from four local high schools and one local primary school showcase everything they’ve learnt about various Pasifika cultures, including Tonga, Aotearoa, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

Pasifika Festival Co-founder and Event Director Mellisa Silaga said there will also be various other cultural performances from groups based across Australia.

“I’m really looking forward to the first nations festival which will bring all of our first nation Pacific Islands, including the indigenous peoples of Australia together,” Mellisa explained.

A major part of this will be the Te Karangatahi Waka, which will be rowed in Victoria Park Lake and will mark the coming together of Pacific nations as one at our festival.

Photo credit: Liz Arcus Photography

The Te Karangatahi Waka is a Maori crew who are deeply rooted within their culture, and have taught traditional Maori haka, powhiri and waka rowing to local young Pacific people in preparation for the festival opening and First Nations Ceremony.

The opening event will also feature a smoking ceremony with Yorta Yorta Elders, local artist Nartasha Bamblett and her Individual Spirits Dance Crew and the Dharmoo Bangarang Dancers.

“My dreams and hopes for the future of the festival are that it will grow, and that it will get to a stage where it will bring our whole Shepparton community together, where we don’t really have to promote it anymore,” Mellisa said.

It means a great deal to the students and the people involved because unlike other multicultural events, this one is important to them because it’s theirs and it focuses on just cultures, and the South Pacific islands.

“My belief is if you’re not connected to your roots and ancestors, you will forget who you are, and it will become almost like you’ve assimilated and changed to the way life is in Australia.

“There’s no harm in that, however, knowing your roots and your heritage keeps you grounded, and helps you to remember some of the most valuable values that we have in our culture such as respect, love and family.”

Photo credit: Liz Arcus Photography

Don’t miss the Pasifika Festival in 2018, on November 24 from 3-8:30pm at the Northern Boat Ramp, Victoria Park Lake in Shepparton. Follow their Facebook page HERE to stay up-to-date. All details on the event poster below!