ASEAN cultures to be revealed
Climson Buking was beyond nervous at his first performance but now he can't wait to share a bit of his heritage.
On Saturday he'll be performing at Auckland's first ASEAN Festival which will showcase the arts, culture and cuisine of South-East Asia.
Mr Buking plays a traditional Filipino gong called an agung.
It's an instrument mainly played in villages away from the big cities and most players will start when they are five to six years old.
Mr Buking is from the larger centre Bontoc and didn't start playing the agung until he got married.
"I was very shy to do it because I thought people would laugh at me," he says.
"Even if you know how to bang the gong you might not move your feet in the right way."
The gong has different tones which are of varying difficulty to reach.
On his first performance Mr Buking was given the hardest which he had to spend a month practising non-stop to master. Now he is a dab hand.
The father of three followed his wife to New Zealand in 2007 and has kept playing.
"I am proud to show it to others.
"I hope it will give people at the festival enjoyment as well," the Onehunga resident says.
"It connects us with other Filipinos here and I hope it will help others connect with their own cultures."
About 46,000 South-East Asian migrants have made New Zealand their home and a large portion of them live in Auckland.
South-East Asia is one of New Zealand's major trading partners with more than $4 billion worth of exports going to the region last year.
The area is made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
ASEAN Festival organiser Murali Kumar hopes the free event will showcase the unity and the diversity of the area.
"There are so many similarities but all the countries are very different," he says.
"The hope is that the festival will be almost like a journey where people can come and spend a few hours taking a tour around South-East Asia."
The Albert-Eden Local Board is sponsoring the event.
"Like much of our board area, Auckland's population is increasingly multi-cultural," board chairman Peter Haynes says.
"Events like this afford us a fantastic way to acknowledge, celebrate and learn more about people in our community who make it that much more colourful and rich."
The ASEAN Festival is from 1.30pm till 8pm tomorrow, at the Logan Campbell Centre at 217 Green Lane West, Epsom.
Entry is free.
Visit societysoutheast asians.wordpress.com, or go to Facebook and search for ‘Society for South-East Asian Communities' for more information.