The Hastings Blossom Parade is one of the biggest of these events still going in New Zealand, but while the concept dates back to 1950, the parade itself has grown and changed.

This year the event attracted 61 floats and took nearly two hours to complete its circuit through Hastings' CBD. In that time the thousands of spectators lining the streets were treated to much more than just blossoms.

They were presented with a display of just how wonderfully diverse our Hawke's Bay culture is.

The parade started off with a Brazilian samba band. Then it rolled on, presenting the crowds with Scottish pipe bands, Chinese Falun Dafa with traditional Chinese music, the Philippine community, Bay City Taekwondo demonstrating martial arts moves, the smiling and waving children from the region's Kura and Kohunga, performers from Te Wananga Whare Tapere o Takitimu, the Kiribati community, and Shri Guru Ravidass community from the Hastings Sikh temple as well as a demonstration of Sikh martial arts from the Saint Soldiers Gatka Academy.

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Photo / Duncan Brown
Photo / Duncan Brown

All interspersed with such Kiwi classics as marching teams and horse-drawn vehicles.
There was colour, costumes, a cacophony of different musical instruments and rhythms, different religions, different cultures and different languages. All parading together and all walking in the same direction.

As a participant in the parade myself, it was great. It was noisy and fun and it wasn't just the spectators having a good time.

It was a long walk, in good company. Long may it continue to be a Hastings tradition. ‚Äč