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Rotorua dances to Cuban beat

    New-Zealand-Cuban-Festival-2014-0348A grant from the Rotorua Trust has helped inspire an increasing number of people to enjoy a Cuban dance festival.

    The Trust provided a grant of $5000 to the New Zealand Cuban Festival Trust for the event that ran in Rotorua in late February-early March. Petera Hudson, the chairperson of the NZ Cuban Festival Trust, says the Rotorua Trust’s grant was instrumental in helping make the festival such a success. An estimated total of more than 300 people attended. A community week from 28 February to 5 March included workshops, community demonstrations and performances. Cuban music and dance was performed in the Eat Streat area and the City Focus, while free classes were provided at the Arts Village. The week finished with a huge Cuban street party at the Rotorua Thursday Night Market.

    Two Cuban dancers came to Rotorua specifically to help with workshops and classes for the community.

    The Festival component of the event ran from 6-8 March, with enthusiasts coming from throughout Australasia along with another seven Cuban instructors and artists.

    Petera noted that the Festival organisers made a point of spending money in Rotorua for services, such as printing and sound and lighting.

    Rotorua has a special affinity with the Festival, Petera says, having now been in the city for the second year running.

    “The values of the Cuban festival align with those of a Maori festival,” Petera says, “Having Liza Kohunui, (who runs Dance 2 Inspire) her whanau and her Cuban Salsa whanua in Rotorua, to be guardians of the Festival was a major consideration for the Festival to be hosted in Rotorua.”

    The location and ease of access to Rotorua from Auckland and elsewhere has been a major factor in the festival’s success, as has the positive attitude from the community, businesses and organisations, such as the Rotorua Trust.

    For more info:

    Petera Hudson, Chairperson
    027 658 4663 email