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Diversity Stage has trophy for first time at ASB Polyfest

13 March 2014

Diversity Stage has trophy for the first time at the ASB Polyfest

The MIT Diversity Stage will have a trophy for the first time at the ASB Polyfest, with the winner being announced at the 3pm prize-giving following performances from 67 cultural groups representing 19 different ethnicities.

The MIT Diversity stage has enjoyed huge growth at the festival in recent years, celebrating ethnicities which sit outside the traditional stages – Maori, Cook Islands, Niue, Tongan & Samoan.

Entries have grown to the point that two days are required to get through the performances. The main culture on stage this year is Indian with 23 groups, followed by Fijian with 6 groups, Chinese & Filipino with 5 groups each, and Korean with 4 groups.

Stage co-ordinators Sarah Woods & Ranee Prasad said that – “the huge growth in the MIT Diversity Stage represents the changing cultural face of Auckland. The stage accepts all cultural groups that fall outside the Maori & Pacific Island stages, giving a wide range of cultures the opportunity to showcase themselves at the ASB Poyfest.”

The MIT Diversity Stage has not been officially judged in past years like the other stages, but it has been a passion of Woods & Prasad to have a trophy for the performance that best represents the traditional dance of that culture, so they have personally donated a trophy this year.

The three MIT Diversity Stage judges – Eric Ngan from Auckland Council, Ann Nicholas from ASB and the current Miss Indian NZ - Amneeta Gounder will have the hard task of deciding which group best represents their traditional cultural dance.

There will be plenty of interest in three cultural groups that feature for the first time on an ASB Polyfest stage - Hawaiin, South African and Serbian.

A Hawaiian Group will be seen for the first time at the festival when the St Dominics Catholic College group hit the stage at 9:30am. Their inspiration has come from a Hawaiian Teacher at the school which lead to the formation of the group.

A similar story has occurred at Botany Downs Secondary College who have entered the first ever South African group at the ASB Polyfest, when they grace the stage at 10:23am. Some South African students at the schools approached South African teacher – Patrick Hedder last year to help them form a South African group for this year’s festival, recruiting some kiwi and Fijian students to join them on stage performing traditional South African dance.

Another festival first is a Serbian group from Papatoetoe High School. They will hit the MIT Diversity Stage at 2:23pm today. They are a small group made up of a NZ European, Pacific Islander and Indian dancing in traditional Serbian costume under the tutelage of teacher – Jelena Stankovic who hails from Serbia.

The other stage in full swing from 9am – 5pm today is the Hapai Te Hauora Maori Stage with fourteen groups performing traditional kapa haka. Yesterday’s action saw Takapuna Grammar include the Grammy Award winning song Royals in their kapa haka performance, as a tribute to former student – Ella Yelich O’Connor.

Another feature of the ASB Polyfest today is the “My Culture & Me” programme which sees primary and intermediate school students from throughout Auckland have their own festival experience from 10am – 1pm.

The 2014 ASB Polyfest takes place at the ASB Sports Bowl from Wednesday, 12 March to Saturday, 15 March. Entry is $5 with pre-school children free of charge.


© Scoop Media

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