Captain Cook Birthplace MuseumA MAJOR celebration of vibrant Polynesian cultures is coming to Middlesbrough’s Captain Cook Birthplace Museum at the weekend.

The Pacific Islands Festival is an annual gathering held by Pacific Islanders now living in the UK, across Europe and beyond.

It is a celebration of many of the indigenous cultures which would have been observed by Captain Cook himself on his voyages around the Pacific.

This year the festival will be brought to the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum (CCBM) by a variety of talented and informed performers on Saturday, July 30.

Local Maori performing group Aloha2Aroha have travelled across Europe to attend the festival over the past few years, and this year they jumped at the opportunity to bring the festival home to the North East.

Saturday’s free event will feature of host of opportunities for visitors to meet and learn more about a whole variety of songs and cultures from across the Pacific.

Among the performers will be USA-based Tongan group Pacific Breeze whose lead singer Kasete was keen to visit the museum and to be one of the first Tongan performers to perform at the Birthplace of Captain Cook himself.

Other countries represented at the event include Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Molokai Island, an Island in the Hawaiian Archipelago.

As well as seeing performances there will be some craft activities with a Polynesian theme for family groups in the morning.

This will include T-shirt printing (small charge applies) and Moai making. There will also be opportunities to participate and learn traditional Polynesian songs and rhymes as well as the traditional Hawaiian Hula dance during the afternoon.

Captain Cook Birthplace Museum Education Officer Jenny Phillips said: “This is a wonderful opportunity not only to put the Birthplace of Captain Cook on the map, but to understand more about some of the vibrant cultures encountered by Cook on our own doorstep.”