Traditional dances were presented from more than 16 international communities

Festival excels with support

by Ann van Engelen

A record crowd took their senses on a trip around the world last week at CultureFest watching group performances on the main stage, and viewing arts, crafts and demonstrations at the Lincoln Domain.

“More than 3,500 people enjoyed the day out. Along with the biggest crowds yet, we saw the largest number of performers take to the stage from more than 16 countries,” says president of the Christchurch Multicultural Council and founder of CultureFest, Dr Surinder Tandon.

“The stage performances were of high quality, and one of the highlights was the performance from the Maori kapa haka group from Aranui. They were absolutely beautiful with the traditional Maori songs and haka. That was great for our multicultural migrant communities, and we appreciated the opportunity to taste and experience Maori culture for ourselves.

“The day was opened by a karakia followed by waiata. There were several food stalls that were kept busy, and everyone appreciated being able to taste foods from countries including Russia, Morocco, Egypt, Spain, Iran, Nigeria, Latin America, Thailand, Indonesia, Aotearoa, Malaysia, Poland, India and the Philippines. Even though it was six months since the terror attacks, the campaign for uniting our city is even stronger and more unified than prior.

“People wanted to participate in multicultural diversity with groups showcasing their culture and learning about other cultures educating themselves.

“People showed how united and accepting our city is.

“We held dance workshops from the Indian community so people could join in the dances and we saw a lot of young students organising and attending this year and participants were presented certificates of acknowledgement.

“CultureFest was organised by the Selwyn District Council, Christchurch Multicultural Council, Rotary and Lincoln University Students’ Association and we are now preparing for next year’s event, and there are small community events coming up.”