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Action packed week expected for Maori All Blacks Game

Thursday, July 4, 2019
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Photo caption: Salaseini Kaitani (left) and He’lena Dou’ble are excited to be helping with events at Ahurei Pasifika.

Two Rotorua Girls’ High School students will play an important role in helping to organise pre-game events for the Maori All Blacks game against the Flying Fijians.

He’lena Dou’ble and Salaseini Kaitani are currently taking part in a six-week mentorship program which has been created specifically for the Maori All Blacks game against Fiji and for the Ahurei Pasifika events being held prior to the game.

Ahurei Pasifika is a week-long event that runs from 15-20 July. The Ahurei will hold a number of different activities being held in Rotorua celebrating the Pacific culture culminating in the Maori All Blacks’ game being held at the Rotorua International Stadium on July 20.

All the events have a Pacific and Maori theme with all but two events are free.

He’lena, a Year-11 student says helping to organise all the different activities had been a real eye-opener.

“It’s really cool to be learning new things. I’m very honoured to be part of this group and inspired to have this experience I’m learning and take it into my future career choice.”

The 15-year-old says, it is a great opportunity to share her Samoan culture to the wider community.

Salaseini, a Year-12 student says being part of the mentoring program shows her exactly what it takes to put on a big event.

“We’ve covered all the jobs that are actually needed behind the scenes. It’s crazy to see how much is involved. I’ve always wanted to know more about what goes on behind the scenes. I’m really enjoying it.”

The 16-year-old says her Fijian culture is important to her family and she is proud to be helping promote it in such an exciting way.

Rotorua Lakes Council stadium events and sports advisor Tia Smith who has taken the young ladies under her wing says, it is the first time she has run a mentoring program that has involved secondary students.

“Over the course of the next six weeks, we are going to look at the components that make up a successful event. At the moment they are looking at the marketing and promotion.”

Smith says if the program is successful there could be opportunities for other schools to be involved in the future.

The week leading into the game will see a lot of different activities for all the family to get involved in. But Smith is particularly excited about the Ahurei Pasifika Celebration being held at Westbrook Fields from 12pm to 6pm on Saturday, July 20.

“There will be Pacific food stalls, art and entertainment. Entry into this is free and there is free parking there as well. So, people going to the match can come down early take in all the different activities grab some great food before going in to the game.”

Smith says even families who don’t have tickets to the game are welcome to the Ahurei Pasifika Celebration.

“It will be a great family day out and a chance to sample the Pasifika culture.”

For more information about all the different events happening in Rotorua click here. For the Ahurei Pasifika Celebration click here.

Tickets for the Maori All Blacks vs Fiji game are available on allblacks.com.

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