Last year, Christmas on Parker Street proved a memorable event.  This year it will be unforgettable.

For a couple of months, a group of Samoan workers have been training.  The journey from a small Pacific country to a small Australian county town is a major shift; to represent your country’s culture is an even bigger challenge.

The Samoan workers are the first of a group of Pacific Islanders recruited for the opening of the Australian Meat Group’s new abattoir.  The long-awaited event, the opening of the abattoir, will bring a new industry, more employment and other benefits to the town.

 

 

However, the celebration on Parker Street on Thursday 14 December will introduce something quite new and exciting.

A meeting of cultures is a big event.  We, in Cootamundra, take our way of life for granted.  There are our festivals, like Christmas, our excitement, like Beach Volleyball, occasions at The Arts Centre, in our schools, on the sporting fields.  There is a familiar rhythm to the weeks and year.  We know what to expect in town.  Well, this is all about to change!

 

 

Our Samoan visitors have been preparing.  They want to share with us the high points of their way of life, their culture.  Already the Anglican Church has experienced the rich tradition of singing of our newcomers.  We are about to be introduced to dancing and singing we have not experienced before.

The Samoan people are proud of their culture.  What they are offering us is their gift to the town.  They are introducing us to their world, to a way of life that is important to them.

The abattoir will begin a commissioning week on the 4th December.  There will be a soft start up through December and January with ramping up from February onwards.  Our visitors will contribute to this significant venture.  They also hope to learn from us, to share in the life of the town, to understand a little of our way of life as they are sharing so generously something of their way of life.

 

 

Rico Tupai, the co-ordinator of the group, spoke of the importance of connecting with the local community.  The churches will benefit from their singing and the football teams from their enthusiasm.

 The group is keen to contribute in other ways by volunteering their time and energy on week-ends.

There is considerable good-will here.  The coming of a significant number of newcomers is an opportunity for us to learn and to show the hospitality for which Cootamundra is well known.

Richard White