Ethnic cultural costumes and wearable art were showcased at the Whangavegas Extravaganza, part of Whanganui's Festival of Cultures.

The event, which launched the three-week festival, was sponsored by the Festival of Cultures, Whanganui District Council's Welcoming Communities and Born & Raised Pasifika and brought together more than 250 people at Whanganui's racecourse.

Event organiser Hellen Puhipuhi said it was wonderful to see the diverse range of cultures represented, with all generations getting involved.

She said in previous years members of the ethnic community got dressed up for the finale and only performed for a crowd for a few minutes during the festival.

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"We're wanting to celebrate their costumes, their cultural costumes, in a way everyone can have a great look at it and include a creativity aspect into it, into the wearable arts where they could have that cultural fusion as well."

The event was split into two shows, the first being an ethnic fashion parade with 13 people walking the catwalk in attire that represented their culture.

The second half of the event was a wearable arts competition.

Emeline Finau's wearable arts creation of Castlecliff Beach, modelled by Ulamila Kedrewaca. Photo / Gail Imhoff
Emeline Finau's wearable arts creation of Castlecliff Beach, modelled by Ulamila Kedrewaca. Photo / Gail Imhoff

There were three age group categories for entrants and they had to choose from one of four wearable arts categories - Junk to Funk, Cultural Fusion, Whanganui Sceneries and Fluoro Frenzy.

There were 20 participants across the three age groups.

Puhipuhi said judges Lee Williams, Neil Jones and Danielle Safvari were all passionate about creativity, with Safvari being a World of Wearable arts winner.

The category winners for each age group received $50, flowers and a trophy.

Emeline Fina walked away with the supreme award for her recycled Whanganui Sceneries creation of Castlecliff Beach.

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The Festival of Cultures continues until October 19 with a mix of community events, all with the aim of celebrating cultural diversity.