Philippine Embassy and the Filipino Community in New Zealand join the ASEAN/Southeast Asian Night Market in Wellington
Lively performances, exciting sounds and spicy aromas filled the air and enchanted the multicultural society of New Zealand during the ASEAN Southeast Asian Night Market on 13-14 March 2015 at the Wellington waterfront on the Te Papa promenade and Odlins Plaza. Families and friends came in droves to sample the sights, sounds, delicious food, colourful crafts and non-stop cultural entertainment from the 10 member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
For the first time ever, the ASEAN Southeast Asian Night Market was held for two nights, in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of New Zealand’s diplomatic relations with ASEAN. 2015 also marks the 40th and 50th Anniversary of New Zealand’s diplomatic relations with Viet Nam and Singapore respectively.
The Night Market showcased the diverse cuisines, cultures and crafts of the 10 member states of ASEAN, offering 35 food stalls featuring the unique cuisine of ASEAN as well as distinctive crafts and traditional cultural entertainment. Performers include a Tookkatoon puppet troupe courtesy of Thailand’s Department of Cultural Promotion and dancers from the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet Company through the support of the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Local acts from the ASEAN communities in Wellington, including various Filipino performing groups from the Filipino community, namely, the NZ Filifest Cultural Group Inc., the Philippine Central Association of Palmerston North Rondalla Group, Munting Tinig, the Ati-atihan Group, Ms. Arla Fontamillas, Mr. Pedro Delmiguez and the Wellington Filipino Community Choir, also performed at the Night Market.
Ms. Jennifer King, Asia New Zealand Foundation Director of Culture, stated that the festival celebrates the contributions of the Southeast Asian communities in New Zealand. She further said that “New Zealand has strong historic ties to ASEAN and the region is of growing significance – both demographically as a source of immigrants and international students and in terms of trade.”
The Embassy of the Philippines in Wellington organized a stall proudly showcasing Philippine tourism and investment, arts, crafts, jewellery and fashion from the Philippines. It also featured the Filipino traditional “sorbetero” ice-cream cart which drew a crowd of ice cream lovers of all ages. The ASEAN Committee in Wellington (ACW) composed of the resident Heads of Mission from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in New Zealand also organized an ASEAN booth which disseminated information about the 10 member states of ASEAN and the ASEAN Community to the wider, multi-cultural society in New Zealand. It featured a popular ASEAN Quiz, a photo booth with authentic traditional ASEAN costumes and gave away coveted ASEAN souvenirs composed of bags, hats and shirts.
The formal opening ceremony for the Night Market was held on 14 March 2015 and was attended by the resident Heads of Mission from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam in New Zealand. Other dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony include Her Worship Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington, the Honourable John Luxton, Chairman of Asia New Zealand Foundation, the Honourable Melissa Lee, Member of Parliament from the National Party representing Prime Minister John Key, and the Honourable Grant Robertson, Member of Parliament from the Labour Party representing the leader of the Opposition Party, Mr. Andrew Little.
The Southeast Asia/ASEAN Night Market which has become a major event in Wellington City’s cultural calendar attracted thousands of New Zealanders and people from all walks of life and other countries. It was a resounding success in shining the spotlight on ASEAN, taking ASEAN’s traditions, crafts and products center stage and promoting greater awareness about Southeast Asia and people-to-people connectivity and the peoples of ASEAN, New Zealand and the wider communities in Greater Wellington.
The 2015 ASEAN Southeast Asian Night Market was organized through the partnership of the Wellington City Council and the Asia New Zealand Foundation, with the support of the ACW and the local community representatives of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar and sponsored by Western Union.