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Christchurch celebrates its diversity for Race Relations Day

1 March 2005

The multicultural face of Christchurch will be on show across the city in March, leading up to New Zealand’s Race Relations Day on the 21st. This year’s theme is “together we grow: te ranga tahi”, and Christchurch City Council is supporting a number of free events and festivals which celebrate the growing diversity of our city:

Saturday 5 March, 11am to 3pm
Linwood Community Arts Centre and Doris Lusk Reserve, Worcester St & Stanmore Rd
Ever tasted food from Macedonia? When was the last time you had a hangi, or watched live belly dancing? Saw tango, flamenco and folk dancers or had a go at Maori weaving? Tried poi-making or came face-to-face with Cook Islands culture? Get the idea?! Experience the multicultural spirit of Christchurch with FREE entertainment, food and a special multicultural art exhibition in the Eastside Gallery, including local children's cultural art, Cook Island and Maori art. 
Rain date for the Festival is Saturday 12 March. The exhibition runs from 5-19 March. For more information, call 981 2881. A SummerTimes event

Saturday 5 & Sunday 6 March, 5 to 10.30pm
Victoria Square, City
Asia:NZ and Christchurch City Council bring the FREE Chinese Lantern Festival to Christchurch for the first time. Marking the Chinese New Year of the Rooster, hundreds of lanterns will light up Victoria Square, setting the scene for entertainment including traditional Chinese dance, music, martial arts and stilt-walking. There’ll also be food and craft stalls. A special 8pm opening ceremony will be the focal point of Saturday evening, and the festival will end with a grand fireworks finale around 10pm on Sunday. For more information visit

Friday 11 March, 12 to 1pm
Cathedral Square, City
See live performances previewing the best of the 'Culture Galore' festival during a FREE lunchtime concert in the Square. Spend your lunch break from midday to 1pm enjoying New Zealand, Middle Eastern, Asian and African-influenced music, dance and performance reflecting the multicultural face of Christchurch. Performers include the Zimbabwean 'Triple Tee' dancers, 14-year old Shweta Nand performing Indian music and dance, and Christchurch's Te Manu Whetu Kapa Haka group. Take advantage of the one hour free parking at Christchurch City Council's car parks in the central city, and call 941 6729 to find out more.

Sun 13 March, 11am to 3pm
St Albans School & English Park
A fun-packed FREE family day with something for everyone, celebrating the diversity of the St Albans community. For those with energy to burn, there’ll be top team games, horizontal bungy, sumo suits, and a demonstration soccer match displaying some of Christchurch’s finest talent. If you’re looking for a slower pace, simply chill out to the music and local cultural performers, and chow down on some tasty kai from the varied food stalls on site. Rain date for the Festival is Sunday 20 March. To find out more, call 374 2465 between 10am and 5pm.

Mon 14 March, 10.30 to 11am
Central Library, cnr Gloucester St & Oxford Tce, City
Join storyteller Yoshi supported by the Natural Magic Band. Morning tea included. FREE. Contact Christchurch City Libraries on 941 7923 for further details.

Saturday 19 March, 12 to 4pm
Ray Blank Park, Maidstone Rd, Ilam
Experience the world and celebrate Race Relations Day by dancing to the beat of a different drum! Over 50 different ethnic groups will be offering FREE cultural performances and demonstrations combined with a huge variety of ethnic foods and even some kiwi kai. There’ll be art and craft for sale and loads of fun activities for the whole family. Bring a rug or a chair and make a day of it! For more information phone 941 6840. The event is sponsored by Plains FM 96.9. Rain date for the Festival is Saturday 26 March. A SummerTimes event.

SHINE 2005
Sunday 20 March, 11am to 3pm
MacFarlane Park, Shirley
Shirley’s annual community celebration, with kids’ games and activities for the whole whanau, great food and local music. SHINE 2005 is a small-scale neighbourhood event, celebrating the richness and diversity of Shirley community. The FREE event will promote local resources, physical activity and good health, with activities including a bouncy castle, horizontal bungy, sumo suits, donkey rides, water slides, face-painting, and much more! For more details, call 385 4037.

Sunday 20 March, 7.30pm (Avonhead) & Wednesday 23 March, 7.30pm (Linwood)
Crosbie Park, Avonhead & Linwood Park, Linwood
Bring your family and friends, spread out a rug for a picnic tea and enjoy a FREE magical night at the movies under the stars with ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (rated PG), a British drama about Jess, a teenage girl who faces the choice between following the traditions of her Indian family or following her dream of becoming a top soccer player, like David Beckham.
Crosbie Park: use Avonhead Park Entrance, Apsley Drive. If wet, the event will be postponed to Monday 21 March 2005, 7.30pm. Linwood Park: Linwood Avenue. If wet, the rain date will be Thursday, 24 March 2005. Call 941 6840 for more details. Please leave dogs at home. A SummerTimes event.

Mon 21 March, 3 to 4pm
Central Library, cnr Gloucester St & Oxford Tce, City
Celebrate Race Relations day by making a putiputi from harakeke at this FREE workshop. Harakeke (flax) was indispensable in traditional Maori life. It was used for everything from clothing to first aid. See the display about this versatile plant and its traditional uses in the Nga Pounamu Maori centre, 2nd floor, throughout Poutu-Te-Rangi (March). Flax workshops will also run on 9 and 16 March between 3 and 4pm. Handouts will be available. Contact Christchurch City Libraries on 941 7923 for further details.

For more information on Race Relations Day, visit


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