Pacific talent tunes up for Pasifika
Songbird Khona Va'aga Gray is no stranger to the annual Pasifika Festival.
She has performed there before and will be among those taking to the stage again this year when the new look extended event takes place at Western Springs on March 9 and 10.
All worked hard to get their place in the spotlight after auditioning last November and are ranked among some of the Pacific's finest up and coming talents.
Khona certainly ticks all the boxes.
She was the overall junior winner at the 2010 New Zealand Gold Guitar awards in Gore while still a 12-year-old pupil at Holy Cross School in Papatoetoe and has taken part in numerous Matariki celebrations.
She has also entertained crowds at Christmas in the Park and in various shopping malls and commercial centres.
Thousands of people are expected to attend this year's Pasifika Festival to sample the culture, music and food of the 10 nations that are represented.
Other entertainers will include The Unbreakables, spoken word artist Rizvan, hip hop dancer Lil Morgz and rock band Vallkyrie.
The festival, now in its 21st year, is organised by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and spokesman Stan Wolfgramm is delighted with the calibre of performers.
"It's wonderful that so many of them call Auckland and the Pacific home and are able to share their craft at this festival," he says.
Aotearoa, Samoa, Tuvalu, Fiji, Tahiti, Tonga, Tokelau, Cook Islands, Niue and Kiribati will be represented during the event.
All will have bustling markets with authentic and traditional food stalls and dance performances on the Saturday while Sunday will feature a multi denominational church service from 9am till 10am followed by cultural demonstrations.
ATEED and Suburban Newspapers, part of the Fairfax Media Mighty A Network and publisher of the Western Leader, will fundraise at this year's festival with proceeds donated to Make-A-Wish New Zealand - a charitable organisation supporting children with life threatening illnesses.
Entry is free.
Go to auckland nz.com/pasifika for more information on the Pasifika Festival.