Maui Arts & Entertainment

KS Maui Hawaiian Ensemble Attends Auckland Pasifika Festival

March 22, 2017, 8:09 AM HST
* Updated March 22, 8:10 AM
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KSM Hawaiian Ensemble. PC: Paula Purdy KSM

Kamehameha Schools Maui’s Hawaiian Ensemble is headed to the Auckland Pasifika Festival taking place this week.

The festival, the largest Pacific Island cultural festival in the world, takes place at Western Springs Park on Saturday and Sunday, March, 25 and 26.

Saturday’s festivities will be capped off with an anniversary showcase, with contemporary music and dance and cultural performances, while Sunday’s opening church service will lead into a choral celebration to mark the occasion.

Pasifika Festival began as a joint Auckland City Council and community initiative in 1992, to celebrate and share Pacific Island cultures and bring Pasifika communities together.

Building on an initial idea of a ‘South Pacific Week’, former New Zealand Herald Pacific affairs reporter Roy Vaughan worked with community leaders like Cook Islands Consul General Bill Te Ariki and Reverend Leuatea Sio to bring together the different Pacific communities, churches, leaders and the then-Auckland City Council.


Over the years, the festival has featured fashion shows, theater performances, a pop opera and sports competitions. Myriad Pacific Island leaders, performers, community groups and a host of Auckland’s event organizers, both Pasifika and Palagi, have contributed to Pasifika during its 25 years.


In 1998, the village concept was introduced to show the diversity within the Pacific and ensure the cultural integrity and community connections of the festival. Pasifika now hosts 11 distinctly different villages, each with a performance stage and market, to show the diversity of the Pacific cultures represented.

Co-founder Roy Vaughan says Pasifika was an instant success, bringing Pacific Island Auckland communities together to celebrate and showcase the different cultures of the Pacific. It won community events award on its first outing, and attracted luminaries like Sir Edmund Hillary, keen to see what Auckland’s new festival was all about.

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