Celebration of cultures a hot ticket
Students at Awatapu College in Palmerston North have a new appreciation for all things international ahead of the Festival of Cultures this weekend.
The college is running its annual event for students to learn cultural awareness, coinciding with the city's festival.
Yesterday Awatapu College student Anna McKean, 16, learnt Japanese calligraphy, origami and the art of wearing a kimono.
"It's a good build-up to what's going on this weekend," she said. "We're going to the festival to soak it all in."
She said the school's week-long programme was an opportunity to teach other students in the school about Japanese culture.
Fellow student Cassandra Feasy, 13, said she loved experiencing different cultures and meeting people.
"My favourite part is probably how the different people come together and they are all nice," she said. "There is more honesty."
Dean for international students Mary Mathews said the programme was exciting and there were always students participating in activities.
"It's getting students to get a taste of another culture without going to another country, because not everyone gets to travel."
Later this week students will participate in an Amazing Race-style competition and international market day.
The festival will be held Friday to Sunday in The Square, where performances and traditional food from around the globe will be offered.
Special guests Ray McVinnie and television chef Nici Wickes will present food demonstrations.
The Community Lantern Parade will open the festival at 6.30pm on Friday.
Mayor Jono Naylor said the festival was one of the highlights on the calendar for Palmerston North.
"Given we have such a culturally diverse city it's a great opportunity for us to celebrate that," he said. "There is always some great entertainment, some opportunities for people to sample great ethnic foods and the lantern festival on the Friday night is becoming increasingly popular, too."