MIT - 11 years of supporting the Niue stage at Polyfest
Manukau Institute of Technology - 11 years of supporting the Niue stage at Polyfest
As students from around the country literally swing into action at the 40th Polyfest Festival, Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) marks 11 years of support for the festival as sponsors of the Niue Stage.
Sina Aiolupotea-Aiono, Pasifika Development Office Manager at MIT says the bringing together of young people at what is now defined as the largest Pacific dance festival in the world, is representative of a large part of its own community.
"Polyfest is the coming together of so many diverse cultures that are reflected by our own community - staff, students and employers.
"This really is the most natural association for us as we work in the community with secondary schools and students, helping to create pathways from to tertiary study," she says.
Chris Lautua, Schools Liaison Officer at MIT, has travelled such a pathway, attending local secondary school De La Salle College, before coming to MIT to study Bachelor of Applied Communication and returning several years later to take on his current role.
Of Niue descent, Chris this year has a behind the scenes role at the festival as backstage manager for the Niue stage, but had his own moment front-stage, performing at Polyfest 2005. Chris describes his own experience at Polyfest as a rite of passage and responsible for nurturing a deep sense of pride for his Niuean culture and respect for other cultures within his community.
"Being part of Polyfest as a high-school student was actually pretty inspiring in many ways. I have such vivid memories of the event and remember feeling incredibly proud to represent my Niuean culture in front of my community.
"It's awesome to be involved again this year, seeing a new generation of Niuean students go through the same experience."
Aiolupotea-Aiono says that is the spirit and sense of overall community the festival creates is one of the most inspiring aspects of the event.
"While we are aligned with the Niue stage, we love seeing the coming together of months of planning and rehearsals by all performers on every stage as they display incredible passion for the traditions of their cultures through dance and language."