Festival of Culture


Eleanor attended the Upper Hutt Festival of Cultures yesterday.  It was held at Expressionz.  When I heard that the venue was Expressionz and that it was in Upper Hutt I thought that they must be holding the event in a hairdressers.  I was disappointed to see that it was actually a gymnasium-like hall nestled amongst Upper Hutt’s civic centre built in the late 70s early 80s uglism style.  As you can see from the photos the general public of Upper Hutt rushed down to Expressionz to embrace cultural diversity to its pasty white bosom.

Eleanor makes new friends

 Whenever there is an event like this there is always a Pākehā hosting it who will tell us that New Zealand is becoming increasingly culturally diverse.  What they usually don’t say at the end of this sentence is, “…if you live in an area with council flats or state housing”.  Eleanor lives in culturally diverse Newtown where there are a lot of council flats.  George Bush probably doesn’t know this, but his foreign affair policies directly affected the housing population of Newtown.  Where American soldiers go, council flat demographics follow.  Newtown welcomes the people of Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.  I suspect Khandallah’s cultural diversity has been less impacted.

The Pākehā fellow who was MC also stated another cliché of events like this: “We are all migrants in this country.”  On one hand this is true, everyone that lives in New Zealand had to leave a place called home and come here by boat or plane, on the other hand the fact that one distinct group arrived about 1,000 years before everyone else tends to mark them out as different from the later arrivals.  After all, by the logic of the it’s-an-island-so-everyone-must-be-migrants school of thought everyone outside continental Africa and Eurasia must be migrants.  Someone better break it to the Aborigines, the Japanese, the Native Americans….

Cultural synergy?
I think the cultural synergies in the photo above are obvious.
Then again, let’s not over think things.  Really it was an excuse for a whole lot of cultural groups to get on stage and have a dance or try some new food.  This is good.  Everyone likes this kind of cultural diversity.  It’s fun.  Good thing each group didn’t have to get on stage and explain its position on the role of women in society, or relate its negative experiences in New Zealand dealing with bureaucracy, homesickness, racism and despair.  That might have led the audience to say such embracing things as “f off back to your own country then”.


Published by


I wrote a book called Kaitiaki o te Pō

5 thoughts on “Festival of Culture”

  1. From what I understand it is better to be a lot of things before one chooses the ‘dead’ option.

  2. I went to the Aro Valley Community Fair, which did not sell fudge or Che Guevara tee-shirts raising serious doubts about its credentials both as a fair and an Aro Valley Community event.

    There was Indian dancing (three European hippies wearing Saris and one Indian) and a Jamaican (possibly a Pacific Island with a fake Jamaican accent) singing about Gaza. Sample lyrics: ‘it is better to be free than dead’. Duh.

  3. Did I mention that my Profile View counter is stuck on 3,066? I think it’s some sort of sign about cultural festivals.

  4. I attended a similar event in Newlands on Saturday. Sorry, but the MC was Maori. Though he did share the job with a white woman.
    Actually, we are (underlined) all immigrants. How important, really, is being the first one ashore? I’m just wondering about this one. Maybe the ‘best’ people shape a land, rather than the first? Yes, I know – define ‘best’.

Comments are closed.