Comedy duo The Laughing Samoans will add spice to the hugely-popular Northland Pasifika Fusion Festival known for its showcase of skills and cross-cultural fun.
Whangarei's Hihiaua Peninsula will play host to the annual festival on February 27 that brings together Pacific people to celebrate and share their food, arts, crafts, dance and music. About 3000 people turned up at last year's festival and organisers are confident numbers will rise this year, especially with the addition of the Laughing Samoans who will pay a special visit.
They are a New Zealand-based duo formed by comedians Eteuati Ete and Tofiga Fepulea'i, both of Samoan descent.
The festival is organised by the Northland Pacific Islands Charitable Trust, a Whangarei-based organisation that supports the Pacific community. Organiser and trust manager, May Seager, said the peninsula will be transformed into a bright, vibrant and fun-filled family festival which fitted well with the Laughing Samoans' brand of humour and family-friendly entertainment. Tongan actor and former Shortland St star John Tui will again be the MC.
Mrs Seager said organisers were aiming to make the most of the central location which was handy for people to access from the Hatea Loop Walkway next to the Waka and Wave Sculpture and the central city Town Basin area.
"The festival is a step towards bringing people together. We do not have to travel to Auckland to see a Pacific Island festival - we are creating our own. We are aiming to make it an annual event and we want to have mainly local content. The day has a strong focus on Pacific Island culture but also includes the Maori community, recognising their strong links and relationships to each other," she said.
"Food and arts and crafts will be on sale and the programme will feature dance and musical performances throughout the day."
The Trust has secured funding from the Lotteries and Foundation North to help stage the event which is free to the public.
- Groups and organisations wishing to be involved in the festival can contact the Trust on (09) 430 2717.