There's not a drop of Spanish blood between them but the women of the Los Angeles de Flamenco dance group brought all the passion of a full-blown fiesta to the 12th Tauranga Multicultural Festival on Saturday.
The castanet-clapping dancers, Nadia Kruis, Katrina Thomas, Julia Banks and Jourdain Sanson, all from Tauranga, took to the stage among a programme of 21 performances throughout the day, which attracted more than 5000 people to the Historic Village.
Ms Banks described their passionate flamenco dance as "lively and earthy" and said their colourful costumes attracted plenty of comments from people on the day.
The variety of performers ranged from Korean, Nepalese, Israeli, Indian and Dutch dance groups to a band with Chilean and Maori musicians playing a mix of reggae, ragamuffin and hip-hop.
At the food tents, revellers treated themselves to choripan, an Argentinian chorizo meat with bread, Nepalese momo dumplings and Korean bacon skewers barbecued by Mills Reef chef In Hey Kim, which one satisfied customer called "sin on a stick".
At a Dutch food stall, Anne-Marie VanderBreggen's olliebollen - a sweet doughnut-like Dutch pastry - sold so fast that by mid-afternoon the stall had gone through 15 buckets of dough.
The festival also gave people the chance to send prayers and messages to tsunami-struck Japan.
A stall run by Ruri Airizer and 20 Japanese friends offered people cards to sign, which will be sent to Japan, and sold origami cranes to raise funds.
"I was watching it on TV and I thought we had to do something - it's not much but at least it's something," Ms Airizer said.
Tauranga Multicultural Council president Ewa Fenn was delighted with the strong turnout and said in future years she hoped to expand on the idea of special quarters for different cultures.
A Latin quarter trialled for the first time featured special food stalls and Brazilian singers, she said.
"The philosophy of the whole day is that by getting to sample the food and meeting people of other cultures, people will have a better understanding of other cultures.
"Our ultimate aim is that all people from all nations can live in Tauranga in harmony."
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