Miss Pacific Islands, Matauaina To’omalai from American Samoa will attend the 26th Pasifika Festival in Auckland, New Zealand next week, spending time in each of the Pacific Villages at the event.

Auckland’s iconic Pasifika Festival will be held at the Western Springs Lakeside Park on March 24-25 and is a free, family-friendly event celebrating the diverse cultures of Auckland’s Pacific whanau.  She will be traveling with Miss Samoa, Alexandra Iakopo.

There are 11 villages, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Aotearoa, Hawaii, Kiribati, Samoa, Tahiti, Tuvalu, Tonga and Tokelau, represent a different Pacific Island culture, with delicious authentic foods, arts and crafts stalls and demonstrations, traditional and contemporary Pacific Island music & performances.

Pack a picnic rug and some sunscreen, and experience Auckland’s rich Pacific culture and heritage. Try Hawaii’s smokey barbecue, the Samoan delicacy palusami (best eaten with a nice piece of baked taro) or sample Tuvaluan kaleve, a drink made from coconut sap.

Get Māori nail art at the Aotearoa village, check out traditional Fijian costumes and accessories, see how artisans from Tokelau use time-honoured techniques to create fishing lures from shells, and enjoy dancing and drumming from around the Pacific.

This year Pasifika will also feature companies from around the Pacific, showcasing traditional and innovative products bound for New Zealand and international markets. The festival starts at the earlier hour of 9am on Saturday this year; while Sunday will again begin with the traditional Pasifika interdenominational church service, with choir groups – everyone welcome.

Next door to the festival, check out Pasifika Vibes @ MOTAT (9am – 5pm Saturday, 10am to 5pm Sunday, free entry). The Museums of Auckland, including the Auckland Museum, Art Gallery, MOTAT and Maritime Museum, are celebrating Pacific culture, rhythms and flavours, with great music, succulent food and live entertainment.

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