Whanganui's own unique celebration of women and community, La Fiesta, is set to roll from February 9 to March 8. The Women's Network has been co-ordinating this festival for 11 years and is excited to present a line-up that showcases Whanganui people, with around 75 activities to connect, inspire and change. There is everything from roller derby to documentary screenings, creative opportunities, musical performances, and activities to get people moving. Look out for the return of the ever-popular Frocks On Bikes on the first Sunday in March showcasing Whanganui's wonderful shared pathways and unique downtown heritage.

Carla Donson, Manager of the Women's Network and Co-ordinator of La Fiesta is delighted the programme continues to capture the imagination of Whanganui people. The festival has attracted enquiries from the UK and the Netherlands, a direct result of the festival being the only one of its kind in New Zealand. Presenters from across the Whanganui district, as well as Taranaki and Wellington, feature in the line-up. La Fiesta opens with a special musical concert to be held at The Chapel — Jane Winstone, on February 9. Two mother-daughter pairings will perform music by women-only composers across the ages. The festival also features a touring duo, Good Habits, from Manchester, England, performing their own brand of acoustic folk with cello and Klezmer accordion.

A focal point of the festival is its celebration of International Women's Day [IWD] commemorated annually on March 8. IWD was established in 1911 and is sanctioned by the United Nations as a day to reflect on women's progress and to continue challenging for change. Celebrated as a national public holiday in almost 30 countries around the world, IWD continues to be an important day for political mobilisation and consciousness-raising about gender equality. Local IWD celebrations during La Fiesta give people an opportunity to be inspired by women taking on the world with a celebratory breakfast organised by the Whanganui branch of ZONTA to be held on March 6 featuring special guest Dr Kathryn Wightman. The festival programme wraps up on Sunday, March 8 with a performance by Taranaki-based band, O Juliet, performing songs from their debut album Unlash the Boats to a Whanganui audience for the first time.

"La Fiesta continues to provide opportunities for our community to meet incredible women going about their ordinary lives in truly remarkable ways, demonstrating their can-do attitudes, courage, and profound wisdom. Men are welcome to participate in festival activities too," says Ms Donson. Whanganui and its diversity are the real inspiration for La Fiesta, "the party", which the whole community is invited to.
For more information about the festival programme contact the Women's Network ph [06] 345 6833 or email: womnet.whanganui@gmail.com The La Fiesta programme is also available online: visit the Women's Network or La Fiesta NZ Facebook pages, or the official festival website lafiestanz.com