New initiative encourages young people to ‘Go with Tourism’

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Bright young things are being encouraged to consider a career in tourism as part of a new initiative to help address the growing skills shortages facing New Zealand’s largest export industry. 

Spearheaded by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), Go with Tourism aims to shift the perceptions many young people have about careers in tourism and provides a platform to connect talent with potential employers.

A soft launch of the platform began last month with cinema advertising, followed by promotional material around the city in the form of bus backs and posters, and has already generated significant activity; more than 300 young people have already registered their interest, and more than 100 employers are set up, ready to be matched with job-seekers.

Steve Armitage, ATEED General Manager – Destination, says getting more young people into tourism is one of the key strategic imperatives to emerge from the Destination AKL 2025 strategy and is critical to supporting the sustainable growth of Auckland’s and New Zealand’s visitor economy.

“The industry is facing growing skills shortages to support the record numbers of visitors coming here, yet there is a strong pool of young people across the country – one in every eight – who are not working or in study,” he says. “We need to better connect with this untapped talent so that we can get them into quality jobs and grow our region’s existing and emerging tourism businesses.

“Go with Tourism introduces a new platform to promote the stories of young people who are already making their way in the world and enables those who are still considering their career paths to explore the wide range of long-term employment opportunities within the tourism sector.” 

Tourism is New Zealand’s largest export industry, and with international visitor numbers increasing every year, an estimated 36,000 additional tourism workers are needed throughout the country by 2025 to meet growing demand.

“We know that this initiative itself will not solve all of these challenges and further advocacy work is necessary if we are to successfully attract the talent the sector is crying out for. This will include further engagement with central government about how tourism can be better recognised in the school curriculum and reflected in policy development,” says Armitage.

A nationwide research project led by ATEED and Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) was commissioned last year to discover what New Zealanders, particularly young people, think about working in tourism. The resulting report, Tourism Youth Perceptions, found that there is stigma associated with the industry.

Tourism Youth Perceptions also found that parents, who have the biggest influence on their child’s career path, tend to have limited understanding of the breadth and depth of opportunities within the tourism sector.

Maggie Ye is one of seven young people who have been identified as a ‘hero’ for the Go with Tourism campaign. As Groups Administrator at SKYCITY, her experience within the industry has been nothing but positive, enabling her to travel abroad and ignite an ambition to advance her career.

“I’ve been really fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing people,” says Ye. “Looking at their success makes me passionate and motivated because I’m on the same pathway that they once were.”

Fiona Melrose, People Experience Manager at HIPGROUP, has been a part of the steering group that helped develop the Go with Tourism initiative and is excited by its potential. One of her employees, Oriwia (Livvy) Morell, is senior chef de partie at Amano and is also featured in the campaign. 

“Through her apprenticeship, to see her today on the front line of the kitchen is a wonderful representation of how young people can excel when given the right tools,” says Melrose.

As well as attracting young talent to the tourism industry, Go with Tourism will provide employers with insights and supporting resources to share best practice on attracting, recruiting and retaining youth.

For more information on Go with Tourism, whether you’re a job-seeker or an employer, please visit gowithtourism.co.nz

MIL OSI

Technology and creativity converge on Auckland’s path to the future

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Three years ago, a young Auckland business renting out VR equipment became one of the first tenants in the AR/VR Garage, a facility set up by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) to grow talent, capability and innovation in our local mixed reality sector.

Fast-forward and that business, Staples VR, is working at the cutting-edge of live action VR content, with offices in Australia and the United Kingdom, and its founder Aliesha Staples, has gone on to win the Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award two years running.  Staples VR is one example of the future ATEED hopes to foster for Auckland and its people as we work to support the generation of quality jobs for the region, to help create a future of inclusive prosperity and opportunity.

In an era of rapid workplace change, where major forces are shaping the future of work, we need to help future-proof Auckland.  For ATEED, that means focusing on sectors with potential to provide high-skills jobs like tech and creative industries. 

The tech sector drives the region’s economic growth; Auckland is home to almost half of New Zealand’s tech firms and labour force, contributes over $9 billion a year in gross domestic product (GDP) and supports more than 65,000 jobs.  ATEED is working to stimulate tech entrepreneurship, as the city strives to become a major innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific.

We’re also focused on the creative industries, with their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, creating wealth and jobs by generating and commercialising intellectual property.  Auckland’s creative industries play a key role in the local economy.

Like tech, Auckland is home to half of all New Zealand’s creative sector businesses and workforce.  There are over 10,000 creative businesses in the city, with 84 per cent of these in the design (advertising, architecture and software), screen, visual and performing arts subsectors.  More than 85 per cent of the nation’s television jobs are here.

Our prominence in the national and international screen production landscape often surprises people outside the industry.  With production companies like Warner Bros. Pictures, Netflix and Disney filming at the ATEED-operated Kumeu Film Studios and the screen expertise and innovation here, Auckland is on the world map as a production location.

Auckland’s strengths in the tech and creative sectors present exciting opportunities for our people, particularly our young Maori, Pasifika and Asian population and their working future.  We’re working to leverage these strengths, like supporting the Hi-Tech Creative Technology Solution Award, helping showcase Auckland’s world-leading creative technology and the people behind it.

It’s just one of the ways we work with public and private sector partners, to support a wide variety of creative tech programmes, education and training initiatives, provide business support across innovation hubs, and manage business innovation grants alongside agencies such as Callaghan Innovation.

Other examples of our work to date includes working with the nationwide WeCreate Alliance to accelerate the creative sector for greater and more sustainable prosperity; and aligning the 2019 Tripartite Economic Alliance with Techweek19, to showcase Auckland’s tech sector to Los Angeles and Guangzhou businesses and investors.

It’s a busy and exciting time for the tech and creative sectors in Auckland and ATEED looks forward to continuing our work in this space.  By leveraging the city’s existing strengths in these areas, ATEED hopes to help foster a vibrant and future ready city, where Aucklanders can benefit from innovation and creativity, and the opportunities for inclusive prosperity these bring.

MIL OSI

Pasifika Festival is not going ahead

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Statement from Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development’s General Manager Destination, Steve Armitage: 

Given the need to prioritise police resourcing following the terrible events in Christchurch, we have today decided to cancel the Pasifika Festival for the coming weekend, 23 and 24 March.  

Initial discussions with New Zealand Police gave us hope that through the festival we would be able to bring Auckland’s communities together at this time of national mourning, however, given the unprecedented nature of what has happened we appreciate and respect that the New Zealand Police must prioritise resourcing to ensure the safety of all our communities across Tāmaki Makaurau.  

Pasifika Festival will return bigger and brighter than ever in 2020.
 

MIL OSI

Auckland’s high five for rugby league fans

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Rugby league will storm a rival code’s spiritual home this November with a triple treat of international matches at Eden Park when the All Blacks are away seeking more Rugby World Cup glory. 

A trio of tests on 2 November between the Kiwis and Great Britain Lions, the Australian Kangaroos and Tonga, and proud Pacific nations Fiji and Samoa take place on the same day as rugby’s world cup final. 

The Eden Park matches are part of a thrilling year for league fans, with Mt Smart Stadium to likely to become a temporary Tongan kingdom in June with a long-awaited re-match between the Kiwis and Mate Ma’a Tonga. 

The Tonga v Kiwis men’s test is part of a historic double header on 22 June also involving the Kiwi Ferns against a Pacific opponent. 

The five-match international smorgasbord was announced today at Eden Park by the Rugby League International Federation, New Zealand Rugby League, and England Rugby Football League – and brought to Auckland with the help of investment by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) on behalf of Auckland Council, and as part of the region’s annual major events portfolio, along with support from central government. 

Mayor Phil Goff says Auckland is the perfect city for a league showdown of epic proportions.

“Rugby League has a passionate following in Auckland, and it’s great to see some of the world’s best teams coming to our shores in 2019. It follows a fantastic summer of sport, with the ASB Classic, FIH Hockey Pro League and world-class international cricket showcasing Auckland to the world.”

Stuart Turner, Head of Major Events at ATEED, says the huge year of league tests are expected to deliver more than $1.2 million in new GDP and more than 18,000 visitor nights, as well as being broadcast to millions worldwide. 

“Tonga’s fans are famed for their passion, and for turning stadiums into a sea of red and song. Kiwi and Kangaroo fans now have a chance to show their true colours in what will be earth-shaking league encounters,” says Stuart Turner. 

The Kiwis v Tonga, Kangaroos v Tonga, and Fiji v Samoa matches form part of the new six-nation Oceania Cup, while the Great Britain Lions test is part of that team’s two test series in New Zealand – the famed combined British side’s first tour here for 13 years. 

Stuart Turner says the matches in June and November will bring visitors to the region in traditionally quieter times of the year for the visitor economy, which is a key ATEED priority under the Destination AKL 2025 strategy released last year. 

“We are working closely with Auckland’s tourism industry on concepts which will focus future visitor growth in periods outside of the traditional peak summer season, and the multi-match weekends are great news for accommodation providers looking to fill rooms at quiet times.” 

Last October, two international rugby league tests in Auckland across consecutive weekends – Tonga v Kangaroos, and Kiwis v Kangaroos – combined to deliver $1.16m in regional GDP and more than 15,000 new visitor nights. 

ATEED will be involved in detailed planning for the two busy sporting weekends with event delivery partners, Duco Events, and agencies including Auckland Transport, Auckland Airport, venue staff and New Zealand Police. 

Photo: George Burgess GBRLLions, Roger Tuivasa-sheck (Kiwis) and Leivaha Pulu (Mate Ma’a Tonga) at Eden Park 

ENDS

MIL OSI

Auckland launches world’s first instant live chat function for WeChat mini programme

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

The Chinese speaking community based in Auckland are being invited to become ambassadors on Auckland’s new WeChat city experience guide, which will see them sharing their local knowledge on one of the world’s largest mobile apps. 

WeChat is a Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by tech giant Tencent and has more than one billion active users each month. 

Given the scale of WeChat, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) has been looking at different ways over the past two years to leverage its mass reach to target Chinese visitors. 

Working with Auckland’s tourism operators and accommodation providers, ATEED has developed an Auckland city experience guide, through WeChat’s ‘mini programme’, providing general visitor information to Chinese tourists. 

ATEED General Manager, Destination Steve Armitage says while there are other destinations with city experience guides on WeChat, Auckland is the first destination within the network to use locals as advocates to relay visitor information in a real time, live chat environment.

“China is New Zealand’s second largest visitor market, and for Auckland, Chinese visitors are the highest spenders in the visitor economy, contributing more than $960 million in tourism spend annually. Auckland is also home to more than 113,000 people who identify as Chinese,” he says.

“With Auckland’s new WeChat mini programme we are providing a platform for Auckland’s Chinese community to share their local knowledge, favourite experiences and love for their city with other local Chinese, and their friends and family in China.”

As well as the live chat function, ATEED has also developed a platform for user generated Auckland content to be featured on the city guide featuring real images from locals and visitors of their experiences around the region. 

Steve Armitage says: “We’ve seen how popular platforms like TripAdvisor and Facebook are with people seeking out word-of-mouth recommendations on experiences, food, and places to visit, but they do not have the functionality for real time chat.

“With our Auckland WeChat platform people will be able to ask a question and get an immediate response from a local or see images of real people enjoying different experiences in Auckland, as opposed to marketing campaign material. This approach enhances their propensity for staying longer, wanting to try and do more when they are here.

“A key focus falling out of the Destination AKL 2025 strategy is the need for Auckland to be more data led in our marketing efforts and this WeChat solution provides a cost-effective way of marketing to a mass market but by harnessing the power of a local influencer base.”

The first phase of establishing the app is signing up the local Chinese community as advocates, and more than 300 people signed up during the Auckland Lantern Festival at the weekend. Once a local pool of advocates is established and up and running, the app will be launched to the mass Chinese market.

NOTES TO EDITOR
Auckland WeChat Mini Programme App
•    There is a rating system in place to ensure the quality of engagement and information shared, especially from the local community. The rating system is entirely user-driven.
•    There are comprehensive legal and risk management plans in place to ensure this App is H&S complied, fun but safe to use with advocates registration including a clear terms of use and privacy policy.
•    People can opt out of being an ambassador at any time. 
•    Those signing up at Lantern Festival will have the chance to win some tourism experience prizes. 
 

MIL OSI

Pam Ford recognised for outstanding contribution to Auckland and New Zealand’s economic development

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development’s (ATEED), Pam Ford, has received the Commendation for Distinguished Service Award at Economic Development New Zealand’s (EDNZ) first board meeting of 2019, held today. 

The recognition follows ATEED’s 2018 economic development accolades, both in New Zealand and overseas, for creating impactful campaigns which led to career pathways for young people, provided businesses with essential data-driven economic intelligence, assisted companies with export growth and generated business attraction and investment for Auckland. 

Pam assumed the role of the General Manager Economic Development at New Zealand’s largest regional economic development agency, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) in May 2018.  

Prior to that role, she held a variety of positions, working closely with ATEED’s key partners Auckland Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE), Immigration New Zealand (INZ), and Tripartite Economic Alliance partners Los Angeles and Guangzhou.  

The Distinguished Service Award is EDNZ’s premier individual award and recognises the contribution made to the image and practise of economic development, research that has advanced the course, and national or international recognition of the economic development profession within New Zealand. 

EDNZ Chair, Dr David Wilson, said: “Pam has made a significant contribution to NZ Inc through her work, both in New Zealand and abroad, and the dedication she has shown to the profession over her illustrious career is inspiring.”  

Pam has worked for many years championing New Zealand’s economic growth both domestically and in several offshore markets through her work with the Ministry of Economic Development, NZTE, and Auckland Council.  

She is a strong advocate of developing economic development initiatives which include sustainability and environmental impact awareness.   She is a great supporter of the arts as well as sport, and champions New Zealand’s cultural diversity as one of our best features as a nation. 

In thanking EDNZ for its recognition, Pam Ford described the acknowledgement as testament to the great team at ATEED who are working hard to action the agency’s new inclusive economic growth agenda. 

“We are focused on creating inclusive prosperity and generating quality jobs for all Aucklanders by working alongside our many partners with high levels of collaboration, innovation and a people-centric approach,” she said.  

ATEED Chief Executive Nick Hill praised Pam for her insightful approach to economic development and her breadth of experience and passion for selling what Auckland and New Zealand have to offer. 

“Pam is an excellent operator who has built high levels of confidence and strong relationships with business leaders and politicians,” he said. 

Award Wins: 

International Economic Development Council 2018 Awards 

BuildAKL campaign (gold award): A highly successful youth recruitment campaign which used social media to attract young Aucklanders (16-24 years) into the booming construction and infrastructure sector. BuildAKL attracted 4500 young people into employment, education or training. Fifteen hundred young Aucklanders were employed in the sector and a further 3000 enrolled in industry training courses, or made career subject choices. 

The Auckland Growth Monitor & Auckland Index (bronze award): Together these tools form a platform for data and insights on Auckland’s economy and increase the city’s profile and standing as a business destination.  The Auckland Growth Monitor is a downloadable report produced annually. The index can be viewed at www.aucklandnz.com/auckland-index 

Tripartite Economic Alliance, Guangzhou (bronze award):  The Tripartite Business Programme for the summit in Guangzhou in November 2017, developed by ATEED and Auckland Council, aimed to achieve trade results in the Chinese and American markets. Nearly 100 delegates from 70 businesses took part in Auckland’s delegation to the summit, and a post-summit survey showed six business leads per delegate we made, resulting in delegate companies expecting an average revenue growth of $4.37 million and an increase of five staff in their business with China in the next three years. 

Kumeu Film Studios (bronze award): Kumeu Film Studio is a successful public-private partnership between ATEED, NZ Film Commission, Warner Bros./Gravity Pictures, and the Kumeu landowner. Together they established a world-class screen production complex and put Auckland on the global stage as an outstanding location for filming, including the box office-topping The Meg

DIGMYIDEA Māori Innovation Challenge (bronze award) This competition designed to attract more Māori into the technology sector, create jobs and improve economic wellbeing, called on entrants nationwide to submit a digital business idea that has the potential to go global. 

Economic Development New Zealand 2018 Awards: 

The Tripartite Business Programme won the ‘Best Practise Integrated Strategic Planning’ Award and was also selected from all finalists to win the ‘2018 MBIE Premier Award’. 

The DIGMYIDEA Māori Innovation Challenge won the ‘Best Practise Award for Innovation’. 

MIL OSI

Tourism Industry Association launch photo challenge

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Get snap happy this February with the 2019 Tourism Industry Association photo  

competition which gives artistic tourism operators the chance to show off their photography skills by capturing what makes Aotearoa so unique as a destination, and as a country.  

This year’s theme is ‘Manaakitanga’ which translates as showing respect, hospitality, generosity and care for others. Photographers can think about how manaakitanga plays a key role in Māori society and our culture, and sums up the act of welcoming and sharing.  

Can you beautifully capture how we, as Aucklanders, look after our visitors in Auckland; how we show off hospitality; and what manaakitanga looks like in business or in our communities around the region?  

There are two awards up for grabs: the Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice. 

Entries will be accepted until Thursday, 28 February with winners of both awards announced on Friday, 8 March 2019. The best photos received each week will be featured on TIA’s Facebook page each Friday and open to voting by the public. The photo that receives the most ‘likes’ throughout the competition period will be the People’s Choice winner. 

Prizes: 

Judge’s Choice: 

Free publicity for the member business – the winning image will be the hero image for TIA promotional material throughout 2019 

A $250 OfficeMax voucher 

An HP Sprocket Photo Printer worth $169, courtesy of Noel Leeming 

People’s Choice 

A $250 OfficeMax voucher 

An HP Sprocket Photo Printer worth $169, courtesy of Noel Leeming 

Winners can also choose from: 

2 tickets to this year’s New Zealand Tourism Awards Gala dinner OR 

4 tickets to a 2019 Discussing Tourism forum in the location of your choice or 1 ticket to the 2019 Tourism Aotearoa Summit 

Further information on photo requirements and submission details can be found here.

MIL OSI

New partnership to boost Chinese visitors to New Zealand

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

A partnership aimed at attracting more high-value Chinese visitors to New Zealand during shoulder and off-peak seasons has been formed between Auckland’s economic development agency, the bankcard scheme with the world’s largest cardholder base, and Immigration New Zealand (INZ). 

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) signed the China – New Zealand Year of Tourism 2019 Memorandum of Understanding with UnionPay International Co. Ltd (UPI) and INZ to explore shared common goals around the China-NZ Year of Tourism initiative.  

ATEED General Manager – Destination, Steve Armitage, says as New Zealand’s second largest international tourism market, Chinese visitors are a significant contributor to Auckland’s accelerating economic growth.  

The MoU seeks to ensure that opportunities around the China-New Zealand Year of the Tourism 2019 are maximised and leveraged through targeted activities and identified value-add benefits.  

Steve Armitage says: “This collaboration aims to increase visitation from the high-value Chinese free and independent segment, adding benefit to our tourism partners around the region as we enhance the quality and delivery of existing tourism products and services.”  

In collaboration with Auckland tourism suppliers, ATEED will produce unique and sustainable Auckland tourism packages for high-value UnionPay cardholders alongside Auckland tourism suppliers. This activity is part of UPI and INZ’s Tourism Industry Partnerships programme to ensure UnionPay cardholders have a quality Auckland experience during their stay.  

These partnerships streamline the visa application process for a select pool of premium customers belonging to these partners, provided they are of good character and health, and support in-market work undertaken by NZ Inc. agencies.

INZ General Manager Settlement Protection and Attraction Steve McGill says: “INZ is happy to support this effort to maximise the high-value tourism opportunity that the China NZ Year of Tourism 2019 brings to New Zealand.”

UnionPay has issued more than 7 billion cards in 51 countries and regions, with millions being to premium cardholders. 

In New Zealand, more than 60,000 merchants now accept UnionPay Cards via POS terminals, 85% of ATMs offer UnionPay Card withdrawal services. It ensures UnionPay cardholders’ have high-quality visiting experiences from secured payment experiences of shopping, dining, hospitality, transportation perspectives.

James Yang, General Manager of UnionPay International South Pacific region, says “this partnership facilitates the culture, economy and financial technology exchanges between New Zealand and China through UnionPay International’s high quality, cost-effective and secure cross-border payment services.”

NOTES TO EDITOR
Immigration New Zealand Tourism Industry Partnerships:
•    In November 2012, MBIE published a China Market Review report recommending that INZ implement initiatives to target high-value, low-risk visitors through arrangements with industry partners. 
•    These partnerships are designed to support both the government’s and industry’s strategic priorities for the tourism sector, focused on attracting high value tourists and business event visitors, and encouraging more international travellers to come to NZ outside the peak season period.
•    Applicants still need to meet all other requirements, including being of good character and an acceptable standard of health.  
•    Opportunities for the TIP programme to support the 2019 China-New Zealand Year of Tourism (YOT) have been identified in MBIE’s YOT Tourism goals development document 
•    The China UnionPay scheme was announced during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand in November 2014.
•    More information on the Tourism Industry Partnerships can be found here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/assist-migrants-and-students/other-industry-partners/tourism-partnership  

About UnionPay International: 
•    UnionPay International (UPI) is a subsidiary of China UnionPay focused on the growth and support of UnionPay’s global business. In partnership with more than 1800 institutions worldwide, UnionPay International has enabled card acceptance in 174 countries and regions with issuance in 51 countries and regions outside the Chinese Mainland. UnionPay International provides high quality, cost effective and secure cross-border payment services to the world’s largest cardholder base and ensures convenient local services to a growing number of global UnionPay cardholders and merchants.
•    For more information on UnionPay International, please visit www.unionpayintl.com
 

MIL OSI

Triple the fun: Auckland to host three huge events in one exciting weekend

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Rugby, football and the country’s largest cultural festival are set to entertain Aucklanders and visitors alike on the weekend of 15-17 February.

The only professional kiwi team competing in the Hyundai A-League competition, the Wellington Phoenix, will host the high-flying Melbourne Victory at Eden Park on 15 February and attempt to extend a five-game winning streak at New Zealand’s spiritual home of rugby.

In the second part of a fantastic cross-code double-header at Eden Park, the Blues will face off against Super Rugby’s 2018 champions, the Crusaders, in a blockbuster season opener on Saturday at 7.35pm. After two pre-season wins, the Blues will celebrate 50 games in the jersey for exciting No 8 Akira Ioane.

Each of these events is expected to attract big crowds, but Auckland Lantern Festival will lead the way with up to 200,000 people expected to attend its 20th anniversary and take in the 800 lanterns at Auckland Domain – making it New Zealand’s largest cultural festival.

In support of the festival, Vector Lights will display a ‘Year of the Pig’-inspired animation and sound show on Auckland Harbour Bridge, between 8pm and midnight each night of the event.

Stuart Turner, Head of Major Events at Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), says hosting multiple huge events is what Auckland does best.

“Auckland has a fantastic range of venues that can cater to the demand that these types of events generate. And many of these venues have the ability to turn over different events night after night. 

“Combine this with everything else Auckland has to offer, and locals and visitors to Auckland can plan some incredible weekends here.”

Use of public transport is recommended for each event, with bus stops and train stations near both Eden Park and Auckland Domain.

Auckland Transport has confirmed free travel on trains, Northern Express and special event bus services for anyone carrying a Blues vs Crusaders ticket on 16 February. There is a dedicated webpage for Auckland Lantern Festival, with up-to-date information on public transport to and from Auckland Domain.

MIL OSI

Western Springs set to transform into the heart of Pasifika once again

Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Auckland’s iconic Pasifika Festival will transform Western Springs into a vibrant heart of Pacific culture once again on March 23-24, with new features and shared spaces aimed at creating an even better experience for the tens of thousands of festival-goers. 

In its 27th year, this family friendly event brings together Pacific communities to celebrate diverse cultures of the South Pacific. The festival is free for everyone, with authentic foods, arts and crafts stalls and demonstrations, traditional and contemporary Pacific music and performances.  

 With more than 200 traditional and contemporary performances throughout the two-day event, festival-goers will experience traditional artforms and practices from 10 different villages, each representing a distinct Pacific culture. This year’s event includes villages from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Aotearoa, Hawaii, Tokelau, Samoa, Tahiti, Tuvalu and Tonga.  

 This year’s refreshed and expanded format includes the re-introduction of a shared festival stage in addition to each village’s stage.  

The stage programme will be jam-packed with an exciting array of headline, international and large group performances. Festival attendees can expect more opportunities to participate with each of the unique village experiences, with fale activations programmed throughout the festival weekend.  

ATEED ‘s Head of Major Events, Stuart Turner says: “Pasifika Festival brings together thousands of people – Aucklanders, domestic visitors and international travellers – to learn about and celebrate Pasifika culture. It is a great opportunity to tell the story of Auckland’s important Polynesian heritage, and to strengthen our identity as an exciting, cultural destination.”  

Expect bright floral arrangements decorating each village throughout the festival site. In the Hawaiian village people can learn how to make fresh flower leis, twining greens and weaving colourful, fragrant flowers together to wear around the festival. Over at the Fijiian village, there will be traditional Rotuman garland-making, which can be used for ceremonial or dancing purposes.  

This year marks the 250th anniversary of Tahitian high priest Tupaia of Raiatea Island landing in New Zealand with legendary explorer James Cook. The village will have a range of performances and displays to acknowledge this historic milestone. With a focus on fresh, quality cuisine, the Tahitian village will showcase the vibrant flavour of its five archipelagos, preparing fresh coconut milk for people to feast on.  

The Cook Islands village has a sustainability focus this year, with talks and workshops on protecting marine life in the Pacific. Its various food stalls will keep hungry people happy with popular traditional dishes including curried octopus (eke), marinated raw tuna, and pancakes.  

 An exhibition of traditional wedding and funeral attire will adorn the fale walls of the Tongan village this year. Nearby, visitors will be able to experience a traditional cava ceremony.   

The festival will proceed rain or shine. Attendees are encouraged to prepare according to the day’s weather forecast. There are many public transport options available to and from the festival location at Western Springs. Further information on bus and train schedules can be found via aucklandtransport.govt.nz.   

Vector Lights will light up the Auckland Harbour Bridge to celebrate Pasifika Festival. This is part of a smart energy partnership between Vector and Auckland Council in collaboration with the NZ Transport Agency, the guiding light toward a smart energy future. For more information, and to listen to the sound track, visit www.vector.co.nz/lights.  

Pasifika Festival
Western Springs, Auckland
Saturday 23 March 9am – 7pm (all villages shut down at 5pm with the festival stage continuing to 7pm)
Sunday 24 March 10am – 4pm

MIL OSI