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Flying the flags . . . Members of the Waitaki Tongan Group who will perform as part of the Race Relations Day multicultural concert are (back, from left) Saulisi Veituna (7), Grace Marie Veituna (17), Paea He-lotu Veituna (6), (middle) Sesilia Ann Hausia (6), Nehusita Hausia (6), Anavahenga Fifita (7), Toni Fifita (7), (front) Tu'ipulotu Fifita (4), Ma'ananga Veituna (4), Tilisa Fifita (4). PHOTO: SUPPLIED

In light of the horrific events of last Friday in Christchurch, the Waitaki Race Relations Day multicultural concert is a timely event, one of its organisers says.

Waitaki Multicultural Council co-ordinator Christine Dorsey is encouraging Waitaki residents to show their support for the event, especially for the Muslim community, and celebrate the colourful and vibrant showcase of multicultural talent in the region.

Mrs Dorsey said the concert was a great chance for locals to see a wide range of acts, and also gave those who had migrated to North Otago a chance to show off their own cultures.

“They are so proud to be showing where they came from, they want to share it with the people of Waitaki,” Mrs Dorsey said.

The Waitaki Multicultural Council knew of families from 45 different ethnicities living in the region.

“We need migrants to fill a lot of jobs in the district, and they bring a lot of energy and vibrance to the region,” she said.

“This concert is about showcasing that.”

Mrs Dorsey said she loved working with all of the different cultures Waitaki was attracting, as part of her role in the Waitaki Newcomers Network, helping migrants establish themselves in the local community.

“It’s great. I learn something new every day,” she said.

“We have a lot more people coming into our district from all over, and I think that adds a lot.”

Waitaki Multicultural Council chairwoman Cecilia Baxter said the purpose of Race Relations Day events was to “encourage an inclusive society with understanding, respect and acknowledgement of all traditions and cultures – to develop a strong diverse nation and to live together in harmony and peace; to stand strong and united together as communities during this difficult time”.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the affected families and the people of Christchurch,” she said.

The concert is a collaboration between the Waitaki Multicultural Council and Safer Waitaki, and will be held at the Oamaru Opera House on March 30.

Fourteen local acts will be joined by three groups travelling from out of town, and will feature many diverse acts, from a Japanese drumming group to Polish dancers.

Co-organiser Sandra Tonkin said volunteers had done a lot of work to put everything together for the big night, but it was a real community effort.

“It is a special event which is vibrant, colourful and enriched with culture,” Mrs Tonkin said.

She described the opera house as “a wonderful venue”, and said the tickets had been priced so everyone could attend.

Tickets are $5 for children and $10 for adults and are available at ticketdirect.co.nz.