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Fruit flies oust Pasifika Festival

Wednesday 4 March 2015 | Published in Regional


AUCKLAND – Auckland’s Pasifika Festival has been moved to Manukau due to the outbreak of the Queensland fruit fly.

The world’s biggest celebration of Pacific island culture will be temporarily moved from its usual venue at Western Springs Park to Hayman Park in Manukau after the discovery of the Queensland fruit fly in the nearby suburb of Grey Lynn.

To help eradicate the fly, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) have placed a 1.5km exclusion zone on the area which includes the Pasifika Festival site.

MPI say there was a high risk of hosting the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs Park and the Auckland Council chose to re-site the festival.

“To minimise the risk of spreading this devastating insect pest and working on MPI advice, organisers have been working hard to find an alternative venue for this year’s Pasifika Festival,” said Mayor Len Brown.

“Hayman Park will be a good temporary home for Pasifika Festival. It offers the right size, scale and accessibility – with excellent links to public transport – to accommodate the cultural performances, food and craft which make Pasifika one of Auckland’s most loved cultural events.”

An estimated 40,000 people are expected to attend the festival on March 14-15.

Efforts to quell Auckland’s fruit fly crisis have suffered another setback after authorities found more adult flies and larvae in the affected suburb of Grey Lynn at the weekend.

The Ministry for Primary Industries confirmed the discovery of two more adult male Queensland flies in traps – bringing the total number found to 10 – while larvae were found at two properties within the containment zone.

The ministry continues to play down fears the invasive pests could become widespread in Auckland, whilst warning that more of the species are expected to be found.

“This is not a game changer, as both properties are within the A Zone of the Controlled Area,” it said in a statement.

“It is not unexpected that more larvae will be found. It tells us that the fruit harvesting and diagnostic work is delivering the results it should be.”

Authorities also thanked the 40,000 cricket fans who attended Saturday’s World Cup clash between New Zealand and Australia at Eden Park, which is within the controlled fruit and vegetable area.

Fifty-eight biosecurity staff joined with Eden Park security to help ensure patrons did not inadvertently spread the flies by taking at-risk fruit and vegetables home with them.