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The Whanganui Festival of Cultures on Saturday will showcase a diverse range of performers.  PHOTO/SUPPLIED
The Whanganui Festival of Cultures on Saturday will showcase a diverse range of performers. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

An award-winning Brazilian samba group, a reality TV show finalist and an address by Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy make for an action-packed Whanganui Festival of Cultures on Saturday.

The festival will also feature cuisine from South Africa, the Middle East, Korea, the Pacific, India and South America in 14 international food stalls and hangi from New Zealand.

Performers from cultural groups as diverse as Vietnamese, Korean and Filipino will join with kapa haka and Bollywood dancers to entertain the crowd at Majestic Square. Stalls will offer information and resources about the various communities in the Wanganui District.

The festival will be held in the War Memorial Centre if the weather is wet.

The Wellington Batucada group will be a star turn. They play traditional samba and performed at the Rugby Sevens Parade 2013. They won best float in Wellington's Cuba Street Carnival twice running.

The group will begin their performance at the River Traders' market on the downtown riverbank and progress to Majestic Square, "collecting people" on the way to take to the festival.

New Zealand's Got Talent semi-finalist Tawaroa Kawana, who wrote the theme waiata for Te Wiki o te Reo Maori (Maori Language Week), will also perform. Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy will address the crowd at midday.

More than 4000 people enjoyed the festival when it was held for the first time last year.

Mayor Annette Main said the event was becoming a symbol of the district and recognised the value and diversity people of different backgrounds bring to the community.

"The combination of our warm hospitality, manaakitanga, the beauty of our Whanganui River and great public spaces provides a backdrop for the festival where everyone can come together to enjoy the explosion of colours, smells, tastes and sounds that demonstrate our cultural diversity."

Mainstreet Wanganui organiser Elise Goodge said the festival was a good way to break down cultural barriers, especially when it came to food.

"People will try new things during a festival event like this. They can sample treats from a cuisine they may not have tried before, which opens them up to experiencing a part of another culture."

For more information visit www.facebook.com/WhanganuiFestivalCultures.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

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