OPINION: Kia Ora, Talofa, Warm Ōtara-Papatoetoe greetings!
I’m Lotu Fuli, Chair of the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board. This Saturday, 7 April, from 10am to 5pm, our local board is funding our first ever Diversity Festival at Hayman Park, Manukau.
This festival will showcase and celebrate many of the wonderful diverse cultures we have in our community.
It will be an opportunity for everyone to enjoy a free day out with the family to watch cultural performances, taste exotic foods, take part in traditional games, learn about other cultures and meet other locals.
Rana Judge, the Ōtara Town Centre Manager, is leading a team of dedicated locals who are bringing together local cultural groups to perform and create learning stations about each culture.
There is also space for local groups to have stalls to fundraise, sell food or to promote their group’s activities.
Any groups wishing to have a stall should contact Rana. The stalls are free of charge to local groups.
The festival is just one of the many ways that our local board hopes to build more connectedness in our community.
Events like this can empower our local community by celebrating the diversity of our area.
We want ALL groups to feel included, welcome and acknowledged as part of our whanau in our local board area.
We know that when people get to know their neighbours and are actively engaged with each other, communities become more vibrant and secure. Good neighbours look out for each other and the feeling of safety in our local area increases.
We also know that there can be barriers to getting to know each other such as language, shyness or simply not knowing anything about other cultures.
We hope that the festival will begin to break down some of these barriers and encourage the different ethnic groups in our area to reach out to each other.
Our local board has prioritised activities that promote thriving, age-friendly communities such as the Diversity Festival.
Other initiatives include the regular diversity forums, bus tours for locals to visit and learn about different groups like the Historical Society, the Sikh Temples and the Ngati Ōtara Marae, regular community hui and neighbours day activities.
One of the other very successful local board funded initiatives is ‘Neat Streets’ which promotes empowering people to recycle, reuse and reduce waste in our community.
Our board is hoping to expand ‘Neat Streets’ into more streets in Ōtara, Papatoetoe and Clover Park in the near future.
This Saturday I hope that you will join me and the rest of the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board at Hayman Park to celebrate our diversity and to help build a more connected community together!
Nga mihi nui,
Lotu Fuli is Chair of the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board.