Ethkick West Brings Communities Together
The fourth annual celebration of community, diversity and football is due to take place at Oratia’s Parrs Park on 28 March 2020. Ethkick West is a popular free event that provides an opportunity for people from different backgrounds and cultures to come together for a fun day of food, music, entertainment and friendship through football.
Other sponsors and supporters include the Waitakere Ranges Local Board, Northern Football Federation, Oratia United Football Club, Office of Ethnic Communities, Oratia Farmers Market, Te Kura Kaupapa o Hoani Waititi and NZ Police as well as the Waitakere Ethnic Board and Sport Waitakere.
‘Last year 27 teams took part across men’s, women’s and social competitions,’ reports coordinator, Mandy Spencer.
West Auckland has one of the most diverse populations in the country. And teams entered have represented countries as far afield as Afghanistan, China and Cambodia as well as Fiji, Brazil, Malaysia and Zimbabwe.
It’s anticipated that this year’s tournament will be bigger and better than ever.
‘Food, music and sport are time-honoured methods for bringing people together,’ explains Mandy.
‘This year we are upscaling the event with more food stalls, music and entertainment including live performances. We want to provide easy, family-friendly ways to engage with other cultures, while also having fun.’
Involving both men and women, the teams and supporters participating in Ethkick West represent all ages and abilities. However, the event has a high level of participation from young men across all communities. Bringing young men together in a game of football is a great way to break down barriers and improve understanding across different cultures. There’s no doubt, Ethkick West is making a big difference at the individual and community level.
Significantly, last year’s event took place one day after the Christchurch terror attack. While some teams felt unable to participate, the majority wanted to go ahead. One speaker at the opening summed up the predominant mood: ‘While we have heavy hearts today, we also have support and companionship amongst the diversity of the teams that bring us together at Ethkick.’
In the aftermath of the Christchurch terror attack, it’s now more important than ever to find ways to bring local communities together. And Ethkick West is playing an important role in doing just that out West.
So, if you like football, sampling different cuisines or enjoying free family-friendly entertainment then head on down to the Ethkick West event for a great day out. The opening ceremony is at 8.45am and the first games kick-off at 9.30am. Easily accessible by public transport, the event is also smoke and alcohol-free.