Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Philippines shines in the Festival of Cultures in Palmerston North in New Zealand

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As Palmerston North hosted its longest running Festival of Cultures to celebrate the richness and diversity of its community, His Worship Jono Naylor, Mayor invited Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and the Heads of Diplomatic Mission to attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 festival featuring the World Food, Craft and Music Fair on 22 March 2014 at The Square. Prayer from Pastor Wiremu Kingi Te Awa Awe, speeches from Mayor Naylor and Ms. Nirmala Nand, President of the Manawatu Multicultural Council and dance and musical performances kicked off the vibrant showcase of culture, cuisine, colour and the performing arts representing the Philippines and several countries. Families, ethnic communities, local people and guests experienced a variety of traditions, taste and talents. City Councillor Lew Findlay and his Filipino wife Meriam Findlay together with Ambassador Benavidez watched the performances and went around the stalls.

The Filipino community in Palmerston North proudly showcased the creativity and artistry from the different islands through their dances and music, food and specialties. The Pamanlahi Cultural Group presented the colourful “Kapa Malong Malong” Muslim dance from Mindanao depicting the role of water maidens and the Philippine Central Association teens danced the “Sayaw sa Bangko” showing the agility and light movements on top of three stacked up wooden benches. The Filipino cultural performances were much applauded and appreciated by everyone. Food stalls selling a wide array of Filipino dishes and desserts were manned by the Philippine Central Association, Rainbow Mart and the Manawatu Chorale Group. They were another crowd drawers as people enjoyed the Filipino food.

During the Reception hosted by Mayor Jono Naylor and Ms. Karen Naylor, Ambassador Benavidez thanked them and the Palmerston North City Council for the wonderful opportunity to experience and enjoy the various aspects of multiculturalism at its very best and for the Filipino community to be part of this spectacular event which fostered greater understanding and goodwill and strengthened the bridges of friendship among peoples and countries in New Zealand. She also conveyed her appreciation to Councillor Lew and Meriam Findlay and to the Filipino community and groups in Palmerston North for their invaluable assistance, continuing cooperation and full support. “The 2014 Festival of Cultures of Palmerston North is another shining example of how a multicultural and ethnically diverse nation like New Zealand is home to more 40,350 Filipinos who continue to enrich the community spirit, enliven the local celebrations and integrate themselves with the people throughout the North and South Islands,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.

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