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By Shelley Topp

The Rangiora High School Kapa Haka group will open the inaugural Rangiora Festival of Colour in Victoria Park on Saturday, March 24.

Festival organiser Karl Horwarth, co-owner of Rangiora’s Fools of Desire Cafe, in Conway Lane, and Reality Bites Cafe in the Gables Arcade, says he is pleased to have the group involved.

“The Festival of Colour is a cultural festival, so of course it had to involve the tangata whenua,” he says. “We have met the local marae, Tuawhiwi, and have been lucky to get Rangiora High School’s Kapa Haka group to open the festival. It is a fantastic way to start off the day.”

The festival also celebrates the beauty of colour around us in our community, with a colour wheel competition for artists, live music, ethnic food stalls, cultural performances and a special entertainment area for children.

It is a free, family-friendly event with the aim of bringing the community together to celebrate cultural diversity.

The event is inspired by the traditional Indian Festival of Colour, now celebrated worldwide, where people throw vibrant-coloured powder at family members and friends. The Rangiora festival coincides with two other events in the town on March 24.

The grand opening weekend at the new Bunnings Rangiora store begins on Saturday, March 24, and the Enshi Vision in Oceania photographic exhibition opens the same day. Bunnings is supporting the festival by giving a children’s playhouse for the Cubby House Giveaway promotion which is proving popular in the lead-up to the festival. The Cubby House, worth $700, will be given away at the festival to a nominated Waimakariri kindergarten, Kohanga, pre-school, play group or community group. “Bunnings is also providing some great free activities for the kids at the festival,” Karl says.

The festival will mark the opening of the Enshi Vision in Oceania photo exhibition at Rangiora’s Chamber Gallery with four performances by members of the New Zealand Hubei Economy Trade Culture Association. Enshi is Waimakariri’s sister city in Hubei province, China.

The exhibition will be promoted at the festival with the performances, two by Chinese children and two by Chinese adults, says association deputy president Yang Zhou. After the Chinese performances, a lion/dragon parade will be held around Victoria Park, followed by a walk to the gallery for the official opening of the exhibition.

People attending the festival will be able to buy T-shirts and colour powders for throwing on the day, at the festival or earlier at Reality Bites Cafe. The colour powders are made of natural corn starch and food-grade dye. They are stain-free and safe to use.

For more information, visit www.rangiorafestivalofcolour.co.nz or the Rangiora Festival of Colour Facebook page.