PHL Embassy attends Philippines-New Zealand connection in ChristChurch
On 7 December 2013, the Christchurch Filipino Community staged the first-ever Philippines-New Zealand Connection, with its theme, “Two countries in need; two countries in deed.” Held in Latimer Square in Christchurch, the event showcased the unique Filipino heritage through various cultural dances, songs, and fashion show presenting a number of colorful Filipino attire. More significantly, the occasion was a fundraiser for the victims of the infamous Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. It was another remarkable undertaking of the Filipino community demonstrating the “bayanihan” spirit in times of distress and challenges.
On behalf of the Philippine Ambassador Her Excellency Virginia H. Benavidez, Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Obach and Philippine Honorary Consul Peter Wait attended the festive event. Cultural performances on stage included Filipino dances such as Kini-kini, Tinikling, Sarimanok, Pangalay, Jota Paragua, Maglalatik, and Binasuan. Lovely ladies wearing fine and elaborate Filipino attire paraded before a cheerful audience. Songs and more music filled the Christchurch summer air. Several stalls, featuring Filipino food, fun games, photo-booth, ads and promo, also surrounded the venue that added to the merry atmosphere of the occasion.
In light of the recent calamity of 8 November 2013 in the Philippines, the program started with a Mihi Karakia, a welcome and blessing by Sally Pitama, consisting of Maori ritual chants invoking spiritual guidance and protection for the Filipino people.
In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, members of the Filipino community in New Zealand have continuously mobilized themselves in concerted efforts to help kababayans affected by the disaster. The world continues to be one with the Philippines all the way. Local and international sympathy and support, prayers and messages continue to bring great comfort and consolation, and help all those affected by the typhoon and the entire Filipino people cope during these extremely difficult and painful times. Represented by Member of Parliament Nikki Wagner and Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel who both graced the event, Christchurch once again proved to be a great and generous friend of the Filipino community.
Vice Consul Obach conveyed the gratitude of the Philippine government and the Filipino people for the generous contributions of the New Zealand government for relief operations in the disaster stricken areas, the deployment of a C-130 plane for logistical support, expressions of sympathy and solidarity from Prime Minister John Key, members of Parliament and national and local leaders, assistance in providing disaster management expertise, the New Zealand public throughout the North and South Islands who are undertaking incredible fund raising drives in local councils, private companies, schools, media, civic clubs, multicultural groups, individuals, families, churches, associations and organizations, celebrities, Red Cross, UNICEF, Caritas, Save the Children New Zealand, among others, and in every sector of New Zealand society. He shared with the Filipino community in Christchurch the message of Ambassador Benavidez that they continue to endear themselves with the people of New Zealand and this has contributed immensely to the outpouring of empathy, generosity and kindness springing forth among New Zealanders.
The Philippines-New Zealand Connection was successfully organized by the Philippine Culture and Sports chaired by Delia Richards, and supported by Christchurch City Council, Christchurch Migrants’ Centre, The Canterbury Community Trust, ANZ, NZCU South, Leighs Construction, Western Union, TCL, Life Resources, Lintek, Staffhouse, Horizons New Zealand, Speed, Filipino Herald, Pegasus, Flying V International, The ANZSIIS Group, and Kvella.