Samoans to celebrate Independence Day in Marton

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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Marton will hold its first Samoan Independence Day celebrations this weekend.

The event kicks off at 10am on Monday at Centennial Park and will include a church service, cultural performance and an umu (the Samoan equivalent of a hangi).

Farani Va'a from the organising committee said the Rangitikei district's Samoan population was now about 1000 - many of them attracted by jobs at Anzco meatworks in Marton.

"It's a growing population," Mr Va'a said.

"[Mayor] Andy Watson came to us and said, 'We would like to do something for the Samoan community'. So we decided to have a festival for Independence Day. We're hoping it will become an annual event."

Samoan Independence Day is traditionally celebrated on June 1, and marks the day in 1962 that Samoa achieved independence from New Zealand.

Mr Va'a said everyone in the Rangitikei area - and further afield - was invited to the event.

"This is for everyone, not just Samoans. We hope people will come along, have a free feed and learn a bit about Samoan culture."

Entry to the event is free.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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