People went away with smiles on their faces and food in their tummies after Rotorua's first Africa Day celebration.

More than 60 people celebrated the food, fashion and culture of Africa yesterday in an event which was all about getting the African community in Rotorua together.

Africa Day is celebrated annually on May 25.

Faustinah Ndlovu (left), Suria Nieuwoudt and Mohabat Khan Malak at African Day celebrations. Photo / Ben Fraser
Faustinah Ndlovu (left), Suria Nieuwoudt and Mohabat Khan Malak at African Day celebrations. Photo / Ben Fraser

The visitors actually came from a range of countries, including the Philippines, Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, England, Croatia and Germany.

Advertisement

Rotorua Multicultural Council president Dr Margriet Theron said she was pleased to see the range of people who had come.

"We're very happy. It's all been volunteer labour and done at very minimal cost."

Jonah Quezon (left) and Ambryn Gavin during the fashion show for African Day celebrations at the Linton Park Community Centre on Saturday. Photo / Ben Fraser
Jonah Quezon (left) and Ambryn Gavin during the fashion show for African Day celebrations at the Linton Park Community Centre on Saturday. Photo / Ben Fraser

Theron said the food was amazing and it wasn't limited to African treats, as other people brought food from their home countries as well.

Guests had the chance to see a fashion show of traditional African clothing and the multicultural council trialled a new performance, "my story my way".

The concept is giving a performance in your native language and giving the audience the opportunity to guess the meaning.

"You then re-enact the play in English for people to see the meaning," Theron said.

In their performance today, Rotorua's African community performed a poem about a family subsistence farming in Africa, showing how important an education is to the family's future.

Event co-ordinator Faustinah Ndlovu said everybody guessed the performance.

Advertisement

"It doesn't matter what language we speak, somehow we can understand each other."

She said next year they would have to find a bigger venue because she was overwhelmed by the number of people who attended.

"I was so nervous, I didn't think it would be that popular."

Julie Gavin and her family moved to New Zealand from South Africa six months ago and she had been excited about a day to celebrate Africa.

"It's really awesome," she said.

"Being new to the country it's a chance to meet people from a similar background."

Gavin and her family left South Africa to create a better future for her children.

"I'm loving it here, even the climate I am getting used to it and I can't complain.

"I still have a few more layers prepared for the winter though."