Manukau Courier : March 7th 2014
Friday, March 7, 2014 Teen cheered up By JENNY LING ESTHER Pekepo’s reaction to being diagnosed with the rare cancer T-cell panniculitis lymphoma was different to most. She breathed a sigh of relief. ‘‘At first I didn’t know – when I heard lymphoma I thought ‘sweet, I don’t have cancer’,’’ the Mangere Bridge 19-year-old says. ‘‘I didn’t know it was the same thing.’’ It wasn’t until she took to the internet to do some research that she learned what it meant. The Make-A-Wish Foundation has stepped in to cheer up the brave teenager from the Cook Islands as she prepares for three gruelling months of chemotherapy. She starts treatment on Monday, the day after the Pasifika Festival finishes. The largest celebration of Pacific Island culture and heritage in the world takes place tomorrow and Sunday at Western Springs. This year there will be volunteers collecting gold coins for Make-AWish. The charity gave Ms Pekepo $2000 to spend at Sylvia Park. ‘‘Being away from home I have faced a lot of financial difficulties and it was a really good experience especially getting the necessities like a TV, bed and drawers, that would set me up for later on as well. I created a haven for myself. It’s going to be handy because I’m going to be doing a lot of treatment.’’ She has so far relied on the sup- port of friends because her parents, three sisters and her brother live in the Cook Islands. One of her sisters is travelling to New Zealand in time for her chemotherapy treatment and the pair will move Ms Pekepo from her flat to Newmarket to be closer to Auckland Hospital. She says the Make-A-Wish shop- ping spree ‘‘made me feel like I can still live a little’’. ‘‘I’m really grateful for the experi- ence that I had. Everyone I met was so nice and made me feel like I was on some sort of pedestal and made me feel loved.’’ ❚ Pasifika is delivered by ATEED and supported by Fairfax Media, publisher of the Manukau Courier. Brave teen: Esther Pekepo is excited to go on a Make-A-Wish Foundationfunded shopping spree before she starts chemotherapy. WARMWELCOMEFORHAWAII AT THE PASIFIKA FESTIVAL By KARINA ABADIA Aulii Mitchell has Hawaiian hula in his blood. He was just 6 when his great-grandfather, grandfather and mother started teaching him the traditional dance and his passion for it has continued to grow ever since. The dance relates to tales of love, war, travels and the wonder and beauty of the Hawaiian islands, he says. ‘‘It’s special to me because it’s my identity. It’s who I am. It’s why I was put here on this earth.’’ He’s excited to be village co-ordinator and cultural advisor for the first ever Hawaiian village to be set up during the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs Park this weekend. The country has been represented at the festival for the past decade but was previously incorporated into other villages. Traditional and contemporary hula will feature and there will be performances from dance schools throughout the North Island. Mr Mitchell is studying Hawaiian hula for a masters programme in applied indigenous knowledge at Te Wananga O Aotearoa. The hula group he teaches, Halau O Moananuiakiwa, will also perform at the festival. Around 20 traditional practitioners of Hawaiian arts are coming to Auckland for the event. Activities include the art of lei making, bamboo stamp printing and learning how to prepare poi – a Hawaiian staple made by mixing water with taro root which is boiled and then pounded to make a paste. There will also be food stalls and craft booths selling shell necklaces and earrings, bags, T-shirts and hula outfits. Mr Mitchell says many people wrongly believe that Hawaiians are westernised. ‘‘We don’t identify with Western life. We are very much our own people.’’ ❚ Go to aucklandnz.com/ pasifika for more information. Go to manukaucourier.co.nz and click Latest Edition to see a hula dance performance. Hawaiian welcome: Aulii Mitchell with an ipu heke, a traditional Hawaiian instrument that accompanies the ancient form of hula. He’s looking forward to showcasing his culture in the Hawaiian Village during the Pasifika Festival at Western Springs this weekend. Photo: KARINA ABADIA Celebrate Summer with one of Nando’s exquisite salads You choose from the delectable range – Fresh Garden Salad, Chicken Garden Salad, Mediterranean Salad, Chicken Mediterranean Salad or Chicken Liver Salad. Nando’s Botany Town Centre • 1 Town Centre Drive, Botany Town Centre, Botany Ph (09) 271 2411 • Open Sunday – Wednesday 10.00am – 9.00pm, Thursday – Saturday 10.00am – 10.00pm Nando’s – Sylvia Park • 286 Mt Wellington Highway, Sylvia Park, Auckland (09) 909 6495 • Open Monday – Wednesday 10.00am – 9.30pm, Thursday – Saturday 10.00am – 10.00pm, Sunday 10.00am – 9.00pm 5754589AH *Conditions apply.
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