Puke Ariki celebrate Switzerland National Day

The aroma of cheese fondue and the sound of yodelling filled the Puke Ariki foyer last week as part Swiss national day celebrations.

Co-organiser Sam Hagmann said the event was a good way to celebrate Swiss culture.

“To bring my heritage together in this place and share it with the community here and my kiwi friends was great,” he said.

“It’s a good way for me to re connect with my heritage to because I haven’t really celebrated the 1st of August since moving here.”

Mr Hagmann also treated the crowd to an alphorn performance alongside Sonic Delusion’s

From Left: Maurice Paurini (Bass), Sam Hagmann (Horns), Ryan Carter (Drums), Andre Manella (Vocals, guitar) Severin Theibaut (Keys)

Andre Manella on clarinet and political activist Urs Signer on guitar.

“It’s got a very strong connection to the mountain, when I play I feel the connection to the earth, I let the energy rise through the ground and through me and the instrument.”

Okato couple Christine and Christof Frey, who moved to New Zealand 12 years ago, said they did not normally celebrate Switzerland’s national day but the Puke Ariki event seemed a good way to acknowledge it.

“We’re not part of the Swiss community as such, we might meet the odd Swiss people but it’s not as if we’re searching them out,” Mrs Frey said.

“It’s nice to catch up, it sort of doesn’t make sense to move to a new country and then congregate with the ones from the old.”

Mrs Frey, who owns a blueberry orchard with her husband, was happy with her choice to resettle in New Zealand.

“I miss certain parts of it (Switzerland), you sort of remember what you grew up with, but the opportunities you have here you wouldn’t have in Switzerland. You would not have been able to buy land unless you inherited it.”

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