Multicultural Festival returns, bigger and better
The second annual Queenstown Multicultural Festival will go ahead this Saturday at Queenstown Events Centre. The koha event is organised by a committee that represents the multi-ethnic communities in the region, and the festival aims to celebrate and promote the diversity of cultures, ethnicities and traditions here.
Following a successful debut in 2022 at the Memorial Centre, the event has grown this year to include more of our local multicultural communities and is to be held in a larger space. There were 900 visitors last year, and they’re expecting more to attend this time.
Eric Lim is the co-chair of the event and is helping to coordinate the team of volunteers. He’s taken on last year’s feedback to make this a successful and welcoming day for all.
“Last year’s feedback said that it was more Asian cultural and not multicultural enough," he says. "This year we decided to make it right and we invited a lot of groups and communities from around Queenstown. We got the support from Welcoming Communities, which is Sylvia [Dancose], who is the connector for us, joining all the communities and leaders together.
“We have a selection of volunteers that all help out in various roles. It’s quite a challenging process and also quite a rewarding one because you can see everyone come together – some feeling quite committed to the process and some may feel a little intimidated as we’ve jumped from a smaller scale to a bigger scale. The main objective is that we want to create a safe and welcoming space for everyone to come and join this event.”
Lim stresses the importance of everyone coming together as one and celebrating that togetherness. There will be three main pillars of the event to help achieve their goals. The first is food, because kai brings everyone together! There are going to be a number of food trucks and individuals serving up traditional dishes from many different countries and cultures.
Next will be performances – there’s a jam-packed programme lined up. Some of what will be on offer includes traditional dancing from the Philippines, a Japanese drumming organisation, singers in a range of different dialogues and languages, Indonesian dancing, karate demonstrations, Highland dancing, and so much more. The main stage will run all day and there will also be a raffle draw with all the proceeds going back to the event.
Finally, there’s the cultural booth. “The cultural booth is mainly a sharing space for different cultural activities," Lim says. "For example the Japanese community will teach people how origami works, and we’ve also got Chinese calligraphy, and Malaysia and Indonesia will have fabrics that are kind of sarongs, which will be a wrap-around skirt tight. It’s bringing different parts of the world to this event and giving people a taste of the country.”
The biggest feature of the event is set to be the ‘Community One-Inch Unity’ project that will be happening. As you enter, you will be asked to express your unique artistic style within a 1x1 inch art tile. The tiles will be assembled to create a visually-striking mosaic that reflects our communities collaboration and strength, and represents the diversity of participants at the festival.
Lim also wanted to take time to thank all the sponsors of this year’s event, saying without them it wouldn’t be possible. As a non-profit charitable trust in its second year, they’re currently working to raise money for contingency and to be able to continue to run the event. Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), Kiwi Kit, Community Organisation Grant Schemes, Community Trust South and Ethnic Communities are a few of those helping to make the festival happen. They’re still accepting new sponsors, so head to their website if you’d like more info.
“Let’s come together and celebrate this unforgettable event. We can make it even more successful and memorable with your effort and support,” Lim says.
The event will be disposable plate and cup free, so please take along your water bottle, coffee cup, plates / cutlery or lunch boxes, or hire it through DISHrupt. Please also consider carpooling or travelling by bus to the festival.
Queenstown Multicultural Festival
Where: Queenstown Events Centre
When: Saturday, 7 October, 10am – 4pm.
Admission: Gold coin / koha entry
More info: queenstownmulticulturalfestival.co.nz