Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

The Philippine Embassy joins the 2014 Penafrancia Fiesta Celebrations in Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand

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As the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out to Filipinos in New Zealand, foster greater friendship and fellowship between the Filipino community and the Embassy team, and in grateful recognition of the Filipino community’s continued support and cooperation, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and the Philippine Embassy in Wellington together with their families and private staff attended the Peñafrancia Fiesta in Wellington on 20 September 2014. Ambassador Benavidez and Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia joined the Peñafrancia Fiesta in Auckland on 21 September 2014.

In both occasions, Ambassador Benavidez highlighted the Peñafrancia Festival which is now celebrating the 303rd year of Devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia as deeply rooted in Philippine history and a valuable part of the Filipino’s spiritual heritage. “Our yearly celebrations in New Zealand, alongside with similar festivities in Bicol and other countries highlight the Filipino’s unshakeable faith and provide a wonderful opportunity to share the strength and the richness of our culture and traditions with people from New Zealand and other communities and contribute to the multicultural enrichment that makes New Zealand a hospitable haven for migrants,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.

With the 138% increase of Filipinos in New Zealand from 2006 to 2013, now numbering 40,350, the devotions and merrymaking unique to the Peñafrancia Festival are really a celebration of the time honoured values and beliefs held dear by the Filipino people remembering and respecting deep spirituality, family centeredness, peace, compassion and concern for fellowmen and the time honoured values worthy of the love, dignity, honour and revered maternal position of Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

Ambassador Benavidez commended the Organizing Committees of the Peñafrancia celebrations in Wellington and Auckland, the devotees and all those who worked tirelessly to highlight the importance of the Christian faith and the roles of the churches and observance of religious festivities in the spiritual lives of Filipinos wherever they may be, the demonstration of the Filipino culture especially in the performing arts and the manifestation of the Filipino’s compassion, care and concern. Their united community effort make the Peñafrancia celebrations shine in New Zealand.

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