Enjoying celebration of cultures

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For many people, lockdown has meant the cancellation of special events.

But it did not stop people from celebrating National Multicultural Day from the comfort of their own homes.

Last Friday was the first celebration of National Multicultural Day, which was established by the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils to promote the normalisation and celebration of the diversity that exists in New Zealand.

People were encouraged to bring their cultural heritage to work, school and into their communities by speaking their native languages, donning traditional attire, and sharing music, food and stories from their ancestral lands.

The Waitaki Multicultural Council and the Waitaki District Council planned to host a potluck meal, but it was cancelled due to lockdown restrictions.

Waitaki Multicultural Council migrant support co-ordinator and Waitaki Newcomers Network co-ordinator Christine Dorsey said while the public event was cancelled, it was still successful thanks to the many people who were happy to get on board with celebrating from home.

“They made all this wonderful food … and they dressed in their clothes, and they just wanted to share,” Mrs Dorsey said.

“Despite lockdown, we are delighted with the way people made a real effort in their homes this year.”

If anything, the participation was an indication of the day’s future success as it built each year, Mrs Dorsey said.

“People are proud to wear their traditional dress, share their food, and hopefully they will be doing it in the workplace and around town next year.”

The celebration would fall on the last Friday of August each year.

“This was the first year it was celebrated and I guess it is something we will always remember.”