Miramar Central School’s 28th ethnic food fair a community success
March 12, 2019
Miramar Central School’s long-running ethnic food fair celebrated its 28th year on Friday with a focus on community and sustainability.
What started as a small-scale pizza night in 1990 now offered a smorgasbord of food from 29 nationalities, including a hangi prepared on-site, and cuisines from Cambodia to Germany.
Times have changed. Teacher Trish Bathard recalled a long-past occasion when one parent “got a pot of chop suey out of the [car] boot, and that was the stall!”
While the focus was still on community and shared culture, people were encouraged to bring reusable containers as sustainable packaging.
Biodegradable cellophane was used at the cake stall, and a wash station was provided for containers and utensils.
Although the fair was the school year’s biggest fundraiser, for Bathard, “community involvement is number one.”
Despite the rain moving the event indoors, around 800 attendees raised over $18,000. A third of this would go toward finishing the school’s bike track, which opened to the public on February 14th.
Principal Ed Trotter, who greeted people by the gate with tireless enthusiasm, said the fair was a calendar event for Miramar residents.
“Food brings people together,” said Trotter.
The food was prepared by students, parents and teachers. Cake boxes were sent home and returned full, and classes peeled vegetables for the hāngi.
Kapa Haka teacher Fiona Glancy said the hāngi preparation taught those involved about tikanga Māori, and brought people together over a love of food and shared culture.
Students from Rongotai College Interact club were there to help as part of a 20-year strong collaboration between the two schools.
Miramar Central students Flynn McKinstry and Sam Weight, both 10, were enthusiastic about the fair in between mouthfuls of Mexican and German cuisine.
Flynn said the fair was “always crowded” and Sam, who helped set up tables, said he “recognised lots of people from last year.”
Volunteer firefighters were on the scene, not to fight fires but to show off their firetruck and raise awareness of fire safety.
Firefighter Jono Ashman, whose two children attend the school, was full of praise. “This is really quickly becoming the hub of Miramar.”