Off The Beaten Track in Aotearoa

International Cultures Day

People from all around New Zealand and from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds gathered in Hastings last week to celebrate International Cultures Day.

I knew I was in for a taste sensation when I saw all the food stalls.

These women, from Russia, were selling delectable vegetable pies filled with shredded carrot and flavoured with cumin.

The Russian food stall

This mother and son from Sri Lanka sold us a spicy fish roll. It was delicious and very filling.

Mother and son from Sri Lanka

The Chinese Society were selling pork buns,

Traditional pork buns from China

and a stall featuring food from Malaysia had tapioca flavoured with pandan.

Tapioca flavoured with pandan from Malaysia

This Thai sticky rice cake was filled with coconut and palm sugar. It was very sweet.

Sticky rice cake from Thailand

Sadly, I just couldn’t try everything but I was tempted. Especially when I discovered a food stall from Laos. But by then my stomach was complaining – you really can have too much of a good thing. Perhaps next year.

The gathering wasn’t only about the food. There was entertainment from all around the world, too. It included traditional dancers from the Philippines,


a Tongan dance group,


and a performance of traditional North-Eastern Thai dance.

From a photography point of view the light conditions were challenging especially in front of the stage, which was partially shaded. Next year I’ll go early to get the best posie for photos. On the other hand I could have my breakfast there as well as lunch.

From a cultural point of view this was a fascinating event. It brought the world to our back door and reminded me how much New Zealand has changed since I was a kid – for the better.

9 replies »

  1. I’m impressed with your photography. Visuals add so much to the story. Thanks to Hugh for sharing it on Covey View so I could meet you and see your lovely work.


  2. Wow, what a great event which brings so many cultures all together in one place, Jill. Was there anything British there? I’m sure a good fish and chips, shepherds pie, and sherry trifle stall would have done very well.

    Great photography as well. The colours are so vibrant and refreshing to see.

    I think I would have come away with you, with a very full stomach as well. Oh well, as you say, there’s always next year.


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