Organised by the Christchurch City Council as part of its Summer Times programme, and ably supported by Plains FM - Canterbury’s only community access radio station, and Fendalton-Waimairi and Riccarton-Wigram Community Boards, the 2016 Culture Galore [an annual free outdoor multicultural festival] held on March 12 at the Ray Blank Park in Ilam, was a feast for all the senses.
With thousands thronging the Riccarton Park Racecourse on March 6, the annual Canterbury Japan Day proved to be a hit with all age-groups. While kids had fun with Kantan – the official mascot and a very cute rabbit as well as with Origami – the traditional Japanese paper craft, the elders enjoyed trying their hands on the Japanese instrument Koto. Kite-making workshop by Mr. Modegi and Japanese calligraphy lessons were also widely hailed.
The team coached by Neil Murphy defeated Poland comfortably in the final of Christchurch Global Football tournament on February 27 at the Christchurch Football Academy. Three teams from the Indian sub-continent - Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan also featured in the top-six.
A Civic Memorial Service was held on the Archery Lawn of Christchurch's Botanic Gardens at midday on February 22, to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2011 earthquake of 6.3 magnitude, which claimed 185 lives and was considered to be the country's worst natural disaster in more than 80 years.
Going by the City Council's initial estimates, a record number – somewhere in the tune of 40,000 – people attended Christchurch's 10th lantern festival held over the last weekend of February in the North Hagley Park, making it a roaring success.
Even though limited availability of venue dictated preceding the celebrations by almost 20 days [Holi falls on March 23 this year], over 2000 people - Indians and non-Indians alike – ensured that the Garden City was second to none in colouring itself in the Holi [the Indian festival of colours] spirits on March 5 at The Commons in Christchurch's CBD.