Unity in Diversity on August 17 celebrated Massey University’s variety of cultures with performances including dance, music, and comedy.

Cultural celebrations took place over the weekend as part of the recognition of International Week, with the Speirs Centre at Palmerston North Boys High School being taken over by the varying groups and societies of Massey University.

A broad range of acts included arrangements by the VIVA choir, the IPC Japanese drum team, Manawatahi, the Papua New Guinea and Fire clubs, as well as solo performances representing Vietnam and Switzerland.

Pasifika executive member Vita Lewanitoruku thought it was a fun experience, and although nervous, got through it due to the atmosphere the audience brought. Not only did she hold her own up on stage, but enjoyed the cultural exchange that took place, she said.

“I enjoyed sharing my culture with other people from the Pacific, and getting to meet other people and learn about their culture and talents.”

It wasn’t all about being on stage, with half of the fun being backstage with the other performers. Lewanitoruku explains that the groups united through their diversity:

“Especially on the day, because we were all hanging out in the same room before the performance.

“People just started talking to each other, and taking pictures and all that. As a performer, I feel like I got a lot out of it because I was backstage with the acts themselves.”

Massey Clubs Development Officer Gemma Lindegren was the organiser of the event, having been previously involved in the last six years.

Overall, her targets were met and her goals were achieved, she said.

“My goals involved the different groups mingling, and to build stronger networks.”

Lindegren’s big goal, however, was to showcase to people outside of Massey what talent there is amongst the Massey population. This was certainly achieved with a success in ticket sales resulting in the Centre echoing with laughter and applause, she said.

Three different groups amongst those laughing and applauding were scouting for talent to be involved in future events. Having the chance to build connections with these groups, the event was fun and a learning experience for the performers.

Kōkiri Ngātahi member Bridgette Bell believed that the experience would be very worthwhile, as there is nothing on a similar scale in Wellington.

“It’s good to be able to network and get to know the other groups. We can do the groundwork and give feedback back in Wellington.”

President of the Massey Association of Pasifika Students Emilia Sa’u agreed.

“We get to see what the Palmy clubs are up to, and network with the sister and brother clubs. It creates an opportunity to build relationships that can be on-going.”

As well as watching the performances, members of the two Wellington groups were involved in marshaling the spectators, and mingling backstage with the performers.

Part of the personalisation of the event included the groups becoming more hands-on in their approach, and even given an incentive for selling the most tickets. The successful Papua New Guinea club received a $300 donation towards their club.

Recognition of the variety of culture and talent that the population of Manawatu Massey students possesses was achieved through this ‘melting pot of the best international entertainment that Palmerston North has to offer’; with everyone looking forward to what the future holds for such talent.

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