Youth Space celebrates Pacific cultures

Published on 03 July 2019

SPYFusion 2019.

Youth Space at Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō will celebrate Pacific cultures next week as the popular school holiday programme SPYFusion (South Pacific Youth Fusion) returns for its second year.

Horowhenua District Council Community Development Advisor Michelle Rogerson said SPYFusion aims to connect young people aged between 12 and 24 years with matua (elders) from the South Pacific community through cultural activities.

“It’s a cross-generational programme, with matua sharing their skills and knowledge with our young people and lots of connections being made. The kids will have a fantastic time learning weaving, lei making, tapa cloth printing, traditional games, dance, poetry, music, skits, swimming and Pacific cooking. There’s something different on every day,” she said.

The unique cultures of a variety of Pacific nations are represented, including Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Niue, Kiribati and Tuvalu.

The programme was organised by Fa’atili Foe Mo Le A’e (Pasifika for Tomorrow), with funding from Horowhenua District Council’s Community Development Grant. It runs from 9:30am to 3pm daily throughout the first week of the school holidays, from Monday 8 July to Friday 12 July.

A highlight of the week will be an umu (a traditional Samoan barbeque that uses hot stones to cook food) and cultural performance on Friday.

“People will be able to see how the umu is prepared and learn about traditional food preparation techniques, such as making coconut cream. And, of course, there will be a chance to sample the cooking afterwards!” said Ms Rogerson.

Cooking will begin at 9am, and the feast and cultural performance starts around 1pm.

SPYFusion will also offer young people the chance to hear from Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, New Zealand’s youngest Member of Parliament. Ms Swarbrick will speak to young people about her experiences in politics at 1pm on Tuesday 9 July. 

SPYFusion is part of an exciting two weeks at Youth Space, with the second week of the school holidays offering a 72-hour challenge for budding filmmakers to make their own short film and win some great prizes. For more information about the 72 Hour Film Challenge, visit, email [email protected], or drop by Youth Space and speak to Youth Space Coordinator Ashleigh Smilovitis.