Pasifika celebration resurrected

Manpower . . . The Pembroke School boys step up.

A celebration of Pasifika culture is being held at Oamaru’s Recreation Centre next week.

Fiefia 2022 is happening for the first time since 2019, with the 10 school groups which are part of the North Otago Pasifika Cluster congregating on Tuesday at 6pm.

The cluster was started about 10 years ago by Tufulasi Taleni, with the support of Oamaru teachers Tracey Bell and the late Jan Plieger, who saw a growing need to support the pupils arriving inthe region from a variety of Pacific Islands, cluster president Shannon Moore said.

The first Fiefia night was held in 2013.

‘‘Fiefia means happy in Tongan, and the aim of the evening is to celebrate the diverse Pacific Island culture we have here in Oamaru.’’

The cluster began with eight schools — Fenwick, Te Pakihi o Maru (formerly Oamaru North), Pembroke, Oamaru Intermediate, St Joseph’s, Waitaki Boys’ High, Waitaki Girls’ High and St Kevin’s College — and last year was joined by Weston and Glenavy schools, which would be taking part in the Fiefia for the first time this year.

It included representatives from each school and the Ministry of Education, who met regularly to discuss how best to support Pasifika pupils and what resources were available, Mrs Moore said.

At the Fiefia, each school group performed and acknowledged two pupils who stood out at school over their time.

‘‘We also invite some local inspirational Pasifika speakers to share their stories and words of wisdom,’’ she said.

‘‘Our Pasifika pupils love this opportunity to show their cultural dances and songs to other schools and to the audience members. They always get super excited . . . We always finish the evening with some socialising and kai. We always finish on a high.’’