A kapa haka group performing with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) made a memorable impact at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival held in April.
New Zealand and Argentina were the two focal countries at the annual festival this year, and the performances of the Te Tini a Maui kapa haka group alternated with performances by Argentine tango dancers.
The wine festival is considered by many to be North America’s leading wine festival. It is one of the largest and oldest wine events in the world – now in its 32nd year.
The festival offers something for every level of wine drinker – from collector to trade professional. For 2010, the festival selected 197 wineries from 14 countries to pour an estimated 1,700 wines at 61 events. Over 25,000 people attended.
Colleen Wilkinson from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Vancouver office said as a co-theme region with Argentina, New Zealand had a fantastic opportunity to show the wine industry and consumer crowd that it produces more than just Sauvignon Blanc.
“New Zealand featured prominently in the main tasting hall, and held four theme events with Argentina.”
There were also five New Zealand-only events, and New Zealand wine featured in 10 other events. “The NZ Inc partners of NZTE, Air New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand, MFAT and New Zealand Winegrowers resulted in a significant New Zealand presence in the city of Vancouver.”
Colleen Wilkinson said many local media wrote about the Te Tini a Maui group and also sent thanks after the event to the organisers saying it was the best festival ever.
Te Tini a Maui (The many descendants of Maui) is a Vancouver-based Maori performing group made up predominantly of expat Kiwis. The group was established in 2008 to bring local New Zealanders together, and to support and continue links with home by teaching and learning well-known Maori songs.
The group has grown from five to 25 members of all ages. Members say they are honoured and proud to share their Maori culture and heritage with Vancouver.
The group was supported by MFAT’s Public Diplomacy Fund.