amilton will be a Filipino city on Labour Weekend when Waikato Filipino Association (WFA) hosts the biggest gathering of Filipinos from Friday to Sunday October 25 to 27 for Pistang Pilipino 2019 (Filipino Fiesta 2019).

There will be events at various venues across the city for sports, culture, food and entertainment.

Up to 5000 Filipinos are expected to be part of the fiesta with more than 30 Filipino organisations participating from as far as Invercargill, Dunedin and Christchurch from the South Island and the major towns and cities in the North. The Filipino Fiesta will include:

• Friday October 25 6.30pm-8pm. Opening night welcome for guests, officials, team representatives, sponsors and others. Minister of Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa will be guest speaker. Waikato Filipino Youth will host Friday Gimik at The Zeal with music and dance featuring the talents, the love and the vibe of Filipinos nationwide.

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• Sports competitions on Saturday and Sunday in venues across the city. There will be 94 basketball teams competing in seven categories at Hamilton Boys High School, The Peak, Unirec, and YMCA. Volleyball at Fraser High School has 30 teams. Badminton at Eastlink has over 300 registrations. Bowling at Skycity has 15 teams. There will also be billiards, darts, table tennis, chess and futsal.

• Kainan, (food and music). Just like the 'fiestas' back home, food and music cannot be missed. During the day, there will over 20 Filipino food and other information stalls plus an ongoing variety of entertainment at Hamilton Boys High School.

• Pulong-pulong (Community forum). This is in collaboration with the Philippine Embassy with speakers on immigration, employment/exploitation, union membership and embassy services.

• Miss Philippines-NZ pageant at Southwell School Performing Arts Centre is a highlight of the event on Sunday 7pm to 11pm.

The WFA has been in existence since 1992, establishing itself as an important Filipino organisation serving the interests and needs of Filipinos in Hamilton and the Waikato.

During this period, it has successfully hosted two Labour Weekend gatherings.

The first and largest one in 2008 was held at Mystery Creek Events Centre and the second one was held on short notice in 2011 when Christchurch was damaged by the earthquake.

Organisers say the event continues to grow with the Filipino community now one percent of the New Zealand population.

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There has been an influx of young, skilled migrants in the health, dairy, construction and engineering, IT, hospitality and other sectors.

The WFA says it is excited to host this event which could only be possible with the support of funders such as Hamilton City Council, Office of Ethnic Communities, Lottery Grants, Trust Waikato, WEL Energy Trust, and Four Winds Foundation plus sponsors such as Orbit Remit, Pino Plus, Tibiao Catering, New Zealand Home Loans, 2Cheap Cars, CC Recruitment and Roland Automotive.

More information: www.pistangpilipino.co.nz and the Pistang Pilipino 2019 sa Hamilton on Facebook.