Cook Islands performers brought the sounds and drumbeats, while hundreds sampled from stalls selling raw fish alongside Samoan sapasui, Fijian tapa, the latest Tongan “Koloa” jewellery, and of course, the Cook Islands pareu, oils, and pearls.
It was a once in a long while Saturday buzz for GI shoppers and residents in Glen Innes, Panmure and Pt England - the three key enclaves now unified under the Tamaki Regeneration project.
Project team member Selina Vainerere-Patia was the brains behind the weekend event. Tamaki Regeneration is encouraging its younger, Pasifika staff like Patia to bring out their creative ideas and organise ways to bring residents out of their homes and into the public spaces - hence the sounds of Cook Islands drumbeats and the sight of toddlers and teens bringing their tamure best.
For Patia, the combo is a “no-brainer”.
Many Pasifika people in Tamaki, and their neighbours from the central, affluent suburbs around St Johns and Glendowie through to Remuera and Mission Bay, are over the initial angst of the government's plan to bring the majority of 20,000 new buildings planned across Auckland, into Tamaki. In part, that is due to the “we are, I am Tamaki”, approach of Pacific staff leading the engagement strategy.
"Standing up here on the stage, I can already feel the difference," says Patia during a break as MC for the market and culture festival event.
“People are mingling, mixing and getting together in spaces they wouldn't normally be. Usually the locals come here and keep to their own groups, but it's different today. It's a good feeling.”