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Village leaders at the Hakupu Festival.

PMN News/Matt Manukuo

Language & Culture

Auckland cultural festival recreates Niue island magic

The Three Star Nation youth group hosted its first festival in New Zealand that emulates a unique celebration on Niue Island.

Matt Manukuo
Matt Manukuo
Published
21 May 2024, 11:37am
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A local Niue cultural group brought a taste of home to the Manukau Tennis Centre at the weekend, for its first ever Auckland-based Hakupu Festival.

The event was organised by the Three Star Nation youth group, inspired by village showdays that are familiar to those in Niue. And on Saturday, hundreds of the Niue community gathered for the celebrations.

Festival Director Eunique Ikiua says the initial plan was to host a “small” celebration, but the news of the event meant the interest skyrocketed.

“This is the first Hakupu Festival in New Zealand. In Niue, all 13 villages have their showdays and in New Zealand (a few) have their showdays, but Hakupu has never had one.

“To acknowledge our close relationship with the motu (Niue), we felt there is only one place to experience a Hakupu Showday in Niue. And we intentionally named this a 'festival' as a bridge, to connect our families here.

“We wanted to just do a small little showday. We were thinking, carpark, pop up booth and everyone getting together. But because of the people from our village, we’re unique - you can ask anyone from Niue, some say 'extra', and I prefer passionate.

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The first ever Hakupu Festival drew hundreds to the Manukau Tennis Centre.

The festival drew hundreds of attendees to the Manukau Tennis Centre for a jam packed day. Ikiua explains there were 30 stalls with 30 different families from the Hakupu village represented on the day selling a range of items including Niue food, merchandise, arts and crafts and more.

Ikiua says the festival was driven by the village's young people.

“What’s cool is that this festival was spearheaded by young people, and what’s been so encouraging is that our elders have wrapped around us saying ‘we support you, we’ll give you the cultural guidance and support you’.

“And you can see that through our promos, we’re trying to document our performers and our stallholders. We are trying to reconnect our families together.”

On the day, the festival coordinators gave Lemonade Stand Awards to acknowledge the skills and experiences young stallholders learned on the day, supported by their elders.

Also in attendance of the day was the MP for Hakupu, Richie Mautama who was “proud” of the efforts of the young people.

“The theme of the day was to reconnect, inspire and empower and I’m so proud of that. May this be the beginning of the youth of Hakupu Atua in Auckland to connect to their roots, back to our homeland and our maaga.”

Mautama says he was surprised at the turnout when entering the arena and seeing so many familiar faces.

“(Beforehand) I didn’t really know what was going on, but walking in and seeing all these familiar faces it’s such a proud moment. All this connects back to home.

“Our youth back home are just as active as you are here. I think you’re supposed to be inspired by what goes on back home, but to tell you the truth, I think it’s vice versa.

“The work you’re doing over here will inspire our youth back in Niue. And for me as a government representative, I’d like to see programmes like this happening back home to promote youth activity, connection with the diaspora of our Niue people.

“Not just for our village, but for the whole youth of Niue. There’s so many of us out there, so let this be the beginning of the future!"