2017 Festival of Cultures delights thousands

Thousands of people soaked up the celebration of Palmerston North’s cultural diversity at the 2017 Festival of Cultures held over 3 – 5 March. The three-days of celebration included the Lantern Festival on Friday evening, Saturday’s World Food, Craft and Music Fair and on finally on Sunday, Ngahau Te Manawa Fiesta Time held at Te Manawa and The Globe Theatre. There were also many well-attended smaller events held in the week prior.

Organisers were delighted with the turn-out to the events and appreciated the input from the many multi-cultural communities who set up stalls selling ethnic food, and provided colourful and creative musical and dance performances and activities.

Witnessing the huge number of people and in particular families, out in The Square and in our cultural hub enjoying the celebrations made all the weeks of planning and preparation for the festival all worthwhile.

There was much celebration and a genuine interest in and appreciation of different cultures and traditions. The crowd were festive, positive and responsive and we are delighted with the feedback. It truly was a great community event.

The Lantern Festival attendees enjoyed a line-up of music and entertainment. As well as many large scale lanterns seen in previous years, hand-crafted lanterns also featured, many of which were created during the week prior at lantern making workshops run by REACT (Rangiwahia Environmental Arts Centre Trust).

REACT also created the lead lantern, and this year their theme was The Year of the Rooster. Wellington Balkan-groove band The Kanistas led the parade with their gypsy and brass sounds through The Square.

Saturday’s event attracted a large crowd who enjoyed entertainment from cultural performers throughout the day, and a continuous offering of diverse ethnic food options from the 90+ community stalls.

Festivities, performances and cultural activities continued at Te Manawa and The Globe Theatre on Sunday, including the Manawatu Multicultural Council’s – Multi-clothes for Multi-people which showcased local creativity, colour and culturally-themed fashion.

Palmerston North City Council funded and organised the event in association with the Manawatu Multicultural Council, and it is one of the city’s longest running community events, having been run since the late 1990’s.

Palmerston North City Council would like to thank their events team, the Manawatu Multicultural Council, sponsors and all of the community groups and individuals who made the 2017 celebration so an outstanding event.