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Prime Minster to attend ASB Polyfest this morning

Prime Minster to attend ASB Polyfest this morning

New Zealand Prime Minster Bill English will attend the ASB Polyfest at the Manukau Sports Bowl from 11am – 1pm today.

This will be the fourth consecutive year the country’s leader has attended ASB Polyfest, with former Prime Minister John Key commenting at a previous festival - "I can't think of anything that's much more significant for youngsters than being able to come along over the course of four days, get to meet a whole lot of new friends and engage in activities that are going on here."

This is the 42nd anniversary of the ASB Polyfest, with more than 9000 students performing across the festival’s four days. They have been part of the 228 performing groups which have taken to the festival’s six stages, representing 60 schools from across the Auckland region.

Prime Minister Bill English is heading to the University of Auckland Samoan Stage on his arrival to the ASB Polyfest, which, today, enjoys its final day of the four-day festival.

All Maori and Pacific Island stages are in full swing today. ASB Polyfest event director Theresa Howard says “today is where the 'cream' of the Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island and Niue groups perform on stage. The public will see amazing Pacific Island performances, and kapa haka at its best with the Division One groups battling it out not only for the title, but for places in the national kapa haka competition.”
ASB head of community, sponsorship and events Mark Graham says ASB Polyfest is a landmark event on ASB’s cultural calendar.
“Each year, we are blown away by the talent, passion and pride displayed on each of the ASB Polyfest stages. It’s a privilege to be involved in the world’s largest Maori and Pacific Island festival, and to embrace all of the cultures represented,” Mr Graham says.
The Te Whare Wanaga o Awanuiarangi Maori stage features the powerhouses of school kapa haka from 8:00am – 5:00pm today. 14 schools will battle it out for the coveted Maori Stage crown with Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi looking to defend their Division One title at 3:30pm this afternoon. Their biggest threats are expected to come from Nga Puna o Waiorea - Western Springs College (on stage at 3pm) who won four straight Division One titles from 2012 - 2015, and Auckland Girls’ Grammar Kahurangi (on stage at 8am) who took the title in 2008 and 2009.

Southern Cross Campus are looking to defend their title on the AUT University Cook Islands Stage at 2:30pm today. Their main competition is likely to come from 2014-15 winners Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate who are stage at 11am, and Mangere College who won the title in 2013, and are on stage at 1:20pm.

The MIT Niue Stage will be reverberating with seven Niue groups from 9:30am – 2:00pm, with Auckland Girls Grammar looking to defend their title at 9:30am this morning.

The University of Auckland Samoan Stage has 15 groups performing traditional Samoan dances from 8:00am this morning. Groups compete on this stage in three divisions – boys schools, girls schools and co-educational schools. It is the co-ed schools on stage today with the defending champs Mangere College performing at 2:15pm.

The Massey University Tongan Stage features vibrant Tongan dances such as the Ma’ulu’ulu and Kailao from 8:00am – 2:30pm today, with 24 school groups performing.

ASB Polyfest 2017 takes place at the ASB Sports Bowl from Wednesday 15 March to Saturday, 18 March. Entry is $5, with pre-school children free of charge.

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