The Pasifika Festival is a Pacific Islands-themed festival held annually in Western Springs Reserve, Auckland, New Zealand. Celebrated since 1993, it is the largest festival of its type in the world and attracts over 200,000 visitors every year.
The festival presents a wide variety of cultural experiences, including traditional cuisine and performances from Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Tahiti, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Tangata Whenua (New Zealand Māori).
The first Pasifika Festival was held 6-12 March 1993; its community day was visited by 30,000 people. The scope of the festival broadened at the very first event as several Micronesian and Melanesian groups chose to participate. Despite some initial skepticism and remarks on the lack of representation in an evaluation report delivered by Nancy Sheehan, overall it was successful. The festival was awarded the Creative New Zealand Creative Places Award next year.
Annual events were held for the first four years without significant change. In 1997, after reorganization, Auckland City Council encapsulated the Pasifika committee and the support from the South Pacific Island Nation Development Agency became redundant. After that, the new event coordinator Pitsch Leiser worked towards making the festival sustainable during the two years he was involved with it. From that time onwards visitor numbers started to grow rapidly.
The Pasifika Festival 2000 was attended by close to 100,000 people. The 2001 festival was awarded the Creative New Zealand Creative Places Award. Pasifika Festival 2014 had 11 unique villages showcasing the cultures of 11 Pacific Island nations: Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, Kiribati, Niue, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Tokelau, Tuvalu, and Aotearoa. The 11th Hawaiian village was added that year.
According to Wikipedia