Pacifika - People of the South

Every now and then my husband takes me out on a DOFFA (Day of Fun Filled Activities).  Yesterday he took me to Ōtara Market.  There's no better place to experience cultural diversity than at the weekly weekend markets in South Auckland.  At Ōtara market, island music blares out the sound systems as revellers shop for fruit and veg.  In Māngere town centre the smell of BBQ fills the air, and crowds queue for sausage sizzle and chicken skewers.  On Sundays, the smaller market in Manurewa takes place in the car park opposite the RSA.

Enjoying the atmosphere with a flower in my hair!

When we first arrived in New Zealand, we didn't understand what was meant by 'Islanders' or 'Pacifika'.  These are peoples of Pacific Island Origin living in New Zealand.  According to the 2013 census, 7.4% of New Zealand’s population (295,941) identified with one or more Pacific ethnic groups.  Auckland is home to one of the largest Pacific populations in the world with two thirds of New Zealand’s Pacifika population living here.  The largest group is Samoan, making up almost half of the group, followed by Cook Island Māori, Tongan and Niuean.

Wall art in Otara Town Centre

Ōtara Market is on Newbury Road next to Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT).  We wandered through the aisles admiring fruit we'd never seen before, ladies making Ei flower garlands, a bee hive on a honey stall and island food stalls.  Outside the Pool and Leisure centre, a live band played a rendition of Bob Marley's 'Stir it up' while the crowds sampled whitebait and mussel fritters.

Live music at Ōtara Market

Inside the town centre is Ōtara Library which has books in many Pasifika languages, and next door is the Ōtara Music Arts Centre, a government funded community centre with a recording studio.

Entrance to Ōtara Library
It was a great morning out, and I was very pleased with my bounty of fresh veg!

All these cherries for $5!


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