There’s no doubt about it that LBS is a culturally diverse place. I know the statistics get thrown around a lot, something like 90% of students are from outside of Britain and represent around half the world’s countries. Whatever exactly those statistics are, there is nothing quite like being distanced from your home country to heighten your desire to identify with that place.

I look at my fellow kiwis in Britain, and the patriotism – or at the least the desire to identify with New Zealand stereotypes – is unlike anything ever seen back home. There is suddenly a huge desire to watch every All Blacks game no matter the hour of the day, to celebrate Waitangi Day (the closet we come to having a national day), and to dress in all manner of clothing with New Zealand iconography, whether that be an All Blacks jersey or a sheep costume.

To harness all this excitement about our own cultures, and our desire to show it off to others, LBS organises ‘Tattoo’. An evening celebrating the different cultures on campus through food stalls, song and dance, and a fashion show.

And what an evening it was! I arrived nice and early as I wanted to gorge myself on food by eating my way around the world. And I preceded to do exactly that – first up the North American stall with a big fat pig roast! Japan for sushi. China for Peking duck. Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore. Then Brazil, and the rest of South America. Iran. Israel. Back to Brazil. Hungary, Turkey. And then finally back to the Australia/New Zealand stall to finish it all off with some pavlova; the debate as to which country invented it first being put to the side for the evening.

Between all this eating and long after my belly was stuffed full, we watched the main event unfold; the Tattoo talent show. And the talent really was incredible. Every country up on stage getting their groove on in some form or another: the Chinese dragons dancing to LMFAO (my personal favourite), the Americans hip-hopping to MC Hammer, the Brazilians getting their salsa on, the Italians singing opera, and many more. Not to mention a loud and fearsome haka performed by the New Zealanders!

The fearsome haka

2 Responses to “Tattoo: The Festival of Many Cultures”

  1. avatar Rosa says:

    Hi James, I realy like your article. I myself am from the Netherlands and have lived in the SF Bay Area, Californa for about 5 years. I understand exactly the kind of feeling you describe in your post. I remember being so exited to live in the USA, but then after a while I started missing everyday things… foods, culture, just the whole way of life you were accustomed to!
    I wish you all the best and hope you can go back once in a while when you’re too homesick!!

    Take care,

  2. avatar James Correa says:

    After reading your post I found myself browsing through the entire Flickr feed for Tattoo 2011. Looks like a fantastic time indeed!