Oamaru’s Pacific Island cultures are blending both on and off the rugby field.
Tomorrow, Old Boys and Athletic Marist are hosting their first Pasifika festival for their Citizens Shield match, at Whitestone Contracting Stadium.
The festival will involve food stalls from different cultures, music, painting and bouncy castles, and the Oamaru Pacific Island Community Group will also hold a free flu vaccination clinic.
Old Boys coach Lemi Masoe came up with the idea for the festival and wanted to include Athies, as both clubs had large Pasifika player groups.
‘‘I thought it would be good to come together and do something differently,’’ Masoe said.
‘‘There’s a lot going on, not just here, especially back home. It’s nice to do something . . . to bring the community together.’’
When he started organising the festival, Masoe was unsure how it would work. But after he talked to the Athies players, they ‘‘really got into it’’ and were all looking forward to the day.
He encouraged everyone in the community to come along.
‘‘We just want to ask the community if they have spare time to come along and experience our culture. It’s lots of fun.’’
Athies player Epineri Logavatu, who is originally from Fiji, said half of the Athies team this year was of Pacific Island heritage and it was important for them to celebrate it. He was excited about the festival and for the Oamaru Fijian community to be involved on the day.
The Pasifika festival will start at 12pm tomorrow, and the game between Old Boys and Athies gets under way at 2.45pm.
The flu vaccination clinic will run from 1pm to 4.30pm.