531 PI
Niu FM
PMN News

Wellington Pasifika Festival 2024.

Photo/Aui'a Vaimaila Leatinu'u

Language & Culture

Wellington's 'Homeland' Pasifika Fest: The many ways Pacific peoples connects to their roots

The windy city's annual Pasifika festival introduced it's first theme this year: Homeland, and what it means to you.

Vaimaila Leatinu'u
Aui'a Vaimaila Leatinu'u
12 February 2024, 3:09pm
Copy Link

The capital of Aotearoa kicked off the year celebrating Pacific culture and communities over the weekend through Wellington Pasifika Festival 2024.

Supported by Pacific Media Network, the Fale Malae trust and Mai FM, the festival gave thousands of attendees the opportunity to take in Pacific cuisine and cultural performances from across the islands.

This year's festival, at Waitangi Park near Wellington's CBD, introduced its first theme: "Homeland, a three-year festival journey connecting Pacific people's homes between the islands and Aotearoa."

For performer Delcine Siohane, who is a part of the Atuhau Tupuhake Niue Culture Group that performed at the festival, homeland means connection.

"For me it's celebrating culture and family," she says.

Siohane lived in Niue just last year, saturating herself in her culture and language. She says the group is currently fundraising for a trip to Niue in October, aiming to fully realise the connection to their homeland Niue.


Local councillor Nureddin Abdurahman felt at home at the festival, saying his homeland of Ethiopia relates greatly to Pacific culture.

"Sometimes you can't bring everything from back home but you can celebrate what you have around you," Abdurahman says.

"For me I relate to Pacific culture a lot as an African. We share family values and how we eat together, mourn together and we dress very colourful.

"We are beautiful!"

A part of Pacific hospitality is providing good food which a lot of attendees, including Siohane and Abdurhman, looked forward to.

A slew of cuisines from in and out of the Pacific populated the park, from Dutch sweets to Sāmoa sapa sui.

Sāmoa's chop suey and rice. Photo/Aui'a Vaimaila Leatinu'u

Fijian and Rotuman Hatamara Shaw, who came to support her mother's clothing stall The Colour Closet, says homeland means family, feasts and time spent well.

"It means time with the people that we love and connecting with who we are," Shaw says.

She also says it is important for everyone to hold fast to their culture, especially Pacific culture so that the traditions within it are gifted to the next generation.

"If we lose it we can never recover it," Shaw says.

Delcine Siohane (left), Nureddin Abdurahman (middle) and Hatamara Shaw (right). Photo/Candice Ama

Niue performer Siohane says Pacific culture is important to her due to it's rarity.

"There's not a lot of us Pacific Islanders especially here in New Zealand," she says.

"So it's good to represent for all of us."

With a large crowd braving powerful 43 km/h winds, councillor Abdurahman says the demand for more Pacific festivals in the windy city is evident.

"In Wellington we are blessed we're a very multicultural city," he says.

"Last week we celebrated Waitangi Day here, it was packed, it was beautiful. Today we're celebrating Pasifika and not long after we'll be celebrating African festival.

"This is what Wellington needs, celebrating each others' culture and making the social cohesion better."

pijf logo