Kick-off was seven and a half hours away but feet were already stamping, voices ringing and hands clapping at Ahurei Pasifika this afternoon, ahead of the Māori All Blacks match against Fiji.

Earlier this year, the Rotorua Pacific Islands Development Charitable Trust was approached by the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union, who were keen to celebrate Pasifika culture at the Rotorua International Stadium.

"We always love to bring our motherland to our new homeland," chair Alexis LewGor said.

"It makes us feel at home and understood... and here is the result of that."

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Despite the Fijian team being the weekend's drawcard, the festival's food stalls, performances, and competitions included ethnicities from all over the Pacific.

Alexis LewGor in Rotorua. Photo / File
Alexis LewGor in Rotorua. Photo / File

"Everyone has just pitched in irrespective of their day jobs," LewGor said.

Tokelauan, Samoan, Rarotongan, Fijian and Tongan musical groups, drew the crowds with harmonies, dancing, traditional dress, and instruments.

LewGor was born in Fiji, but also has German, Chinese and Samoan heritage.

She has been in New Zealand for 32 years and said fellow Fijians were coming from all over the country for the game.

"The Fiji Association is accommodating them. We love our rugby, and the weather is great for it. We wanted the Fiji sunshine today."

A Rotorua Fijian cultural group. Photo / Stephen Parker
A Rotorua Fijian cultural group. Photo / Stephen Parker

Louise Hodgins, came along to watch her great-granddaughter take part in the Tokelauan performance.

She said, "it was just beautiful".

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"I am Māori, and her mother is my granddaughter, but her father was Tokelauan. He passed away four or five years ago and left two children."

Hodgins said she had never seen her granddaughter perform with such enthusiasm

"She is just like her father. It is like a flashback to when he passed away."

A Rotorua Tokelauan group performing. Photo / Samantha Olley
A Rotorua Tokelauan group performing. Photo / Samantha Olley

Marlene Tanga was helping man the Rarotongan food stall in the early afternoon.

"We have others coming that were at church," she said.

The group began preparing the food yesterday, including everything from fish to banana poke.

"All of the funds are going towards renovating our hall, on Clayton Rd."

She said the festival was a good opportunity to teach local Rarotongan children about their islands, and "carry on" with their culture.

The festival will finish at 6pm.

The kick-off for the Māori All Blacks match against Fiji is at 7.30pm.