Convener no stranger to big community events

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By Mick Jensen

It’s her first year as the co-ordinator of Ashburton cultural celebration Multi Cultural Bite, but Philippines-raised Ida Casipit is no stranger to organising events and activities in the community.

Ida came to New Zealand in 2009, became a citizen three years ago and for the last eight years has been event co-ordinator for the non-profit organisation Filipino Dairy Workers in New Zealand (FDWNZ).

Over the years FDWNZ has hosted a number of events, including a fundraiser for victims of typhoon Haiyan, Filipino cultural festival Flores De Mayo, a week-long visit from the mobile Filipino consular service and the Filipino South Island Games.

Ida says experience gained from running events for 100 to 400 people has “moulded her organisational skills” and landed her the fantastic opportunity to become the Bite organiser for 2019.

She said the cultural showcase was directed by a “passionate, dedicated and culturally rich team” led by Ashburton councillor Thelma Bell.

Trustees included councillor Selwyn Price, Howard Mahere, Marion Bartlett, Rohini Sukul and Earl Magtibay.

“It is an a honour for me to work alongside them and to be involved with a big event that will cater to the wider community.”

Ida said the event would celebrate its 10th year in February and a “bigger, more festive” celebration was planned to mark it.

“It will be challenging for me personally, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun,” she said.

To date, people from 14 countries have signed up to sell food from their former homelands at Bite.

The international menu includes cuisine from Singapore, Philippines, New Caledonia, Egypt, Netherlands, Italy, Brazil and Malaysia.

Traditional foods on the menu include sweet rice balls filled with mung bean paste called butchi, onion bhajees, Chinese dumplings and pineapple cake.

The entertainment line-up is still being co-ordinated, but will include a classical Indian dance group and, likely, Pasifika and drumming groups.

Anyone keen to run a food stall or be part of the entertainment can contact Ida (021 102 9632 or multiculturalbite@gmail.com) or find out more on the Ashburton MCB Facebook page.

Multi Cultural Bite will be celebrated on Waitangi Day, February 6, with stalls and a stage set up near the Ashburton Clocktower on Baring Square East.