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Bulgarians stage a cultural coup in NZ
By Migrant News Staff Writer
The Bulgarian Roses at the Parnell Rose Festivaln

The Bulgarian Roses
at the Parnell Rose Festival.

They number only about 2,000 but they are "exploding onto the Auckland public scene as no other European immigrant group ever has in New Zealand led by a brilliant energetic choreographer, Sonya Arabajieva, with a vision for the whole Bulgarian community here."

That was a standing ovation for the Bulgarian Roses, a folklore dance group, in the April issue of the Ruritarian International Folk Dance Club's newsletter.

This year we have participated in a number of international festivals, Auckland International Dance Fest, Auckland International Cultural Festival, Ethnic Delight, Lakeside Multicultural Festival and many workshops, with great success, says Izabela Shopova, a co-ordinator for the group.

"Our dancers come from different backgrounds and speak different languages - Japanese, Turkish, English and Bulgarian being just some of them, she reveals.

"We believe there are approximately 2,000 Bulgarians in New Zealand most of whom live in Auckland," she says.

"Recently the Bulgarian Deputy Minister Of External Affairs Feim Chaushev had a meeting with the Bulgarian community in Auckland and his New Zealand counterpart, in which he expressed the Bulgarian Government's intention to establish a consulate in Auckland."

This is good news for the growing Bulgarian community in New Zealand as currently their closest consulate is in Canberra.

The majority of Bulgarians came here as skilled migrants. "They are highly qualified and this is probably why the biggest number of them live in Auckland and Wellington where they can easily find a suitable job," explains Shopova.

In Auckland, most Bulgarians cluster around the East Bays, Auckland City and the North Shore.

"The Bulgarian Society, St Cyril and Methodius Incorporated, is registered in Auckland City and the Auckland City Council has given us a grant which allows the community to rent a hall for occasions and cultural performances," reveals Shopova.

On 8th December, the Bulgarian Roses are throwing a big celebration party for their first anniversary on Auckland's cultural stage.

The event will be held at the Mt Roskill War Memorial Hall from 6pm. All are welcome.

The Bulgarian Roses will take top billing at the show. "After the concert there will be time for horo dancing for everyone, dinner with traditional Bulgarian food and much conversation and opportunities for making friends among the other guests of the party," says Shopova.

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