The 17th Multicultural Festival will take place next weekend.

The annual festival celebrates different nationalities working and living in the Bay of Plenty.

This year's event would showcase 15 nationalities in the Parade of Nations, with more people expected to join in on the day.

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There will be 20 different international food stalls as well as arts and crafts stalls.

Festival director Ewa Fenn said 5000 people attended last year's event and they were expecting the same numbers, or more, this year.

The event tied in with Race Relations Day on March 21. The festival would include performances by a celtic band, The Whittakers, a Bulgarian dance group from Auckland and a Maori weaving exhibition by Parewhati Taikato, which would include culture and paintings from local Maori in Tauranga.

Mrs Fenn said the Multicultural Festival was a good way for new migrants to see what services were available through the Tauranga Multicultural Council.

"It's also a chance for migrants to meet each other, form relationships, network and learn more about what's on offer to them," she said.

It was also a chance for Tauranga locals to sample international cuisine and see other nationalities' traditional dress, she said.

The Tauranga Multicultural Council works with new migrants and offers English classes, networking meetings and social events.

Eunjung Lee, 38, of Korea, who had attended the council's English classes, would be attending the festival.

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Mrs Lee and her husband brought their two children, aged, 8 and 10, to New Zealand for two years to learn English.

Mrs Lee said New Zealand was the family's first choice to immigrate to because it was affordable compared with other English speaking countries and for its clean green image.

"New Zealand is so beautiful, all the green different scenery, clean beaches and the fresh air."


World flavour

• The 17th Tauranga Multicultural Festivals on at the Historic Village on 17th Ave. Tauranga on Saturday, March 19, between 10am and 4pm. Entry is $6 and children under 12 are free.