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37th ASB Polyfest starts next week

7 March 2012

37th ASB Polyfest starts next week

The world’s largest Maori & Pacific Island Festival – the ASB Polyfest - begins in a week’s time with a special powhiri at the Manukau Sports Bowl at 9am on Wednesday, 14 March.

From humble beginnings in 1976 when four schools took part, the ASB Polyfest has grown into one of Auckland’s most enduring and iconic festivals. 58 schools will take part in this year’s festival, with 195 performance groups entered from these schools and close to 9500 students taking to the stage over the festival’s four day duration.

Students will perform traditional song, dance, speeches and kapa haka to an anticipated audience of 95,000 people. For these students it is an opportunity to show off their Maori and Pacific Island cultural heritage. For the public it is a chance to experience the sights, sounds and aromas of Auckland’s cultures.

At last’s week official festival launch, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse described the ASB Polyfest as – “a celebration of culture, a celebration of youth, and a celebration of Auckland’s diverse cultures.”

Kia Aroha College Year 13 student Veisinia Ha’unga spoke of the importance of the ASB Polyfest to youth saying that the festival – “allows us to show off who we are as Maori & Pacifika people with pride and dignity.”

ASB Polyfest Event Director Tania Karauria says the festival is “a unique opportunity for students to proudly promote their own culture while experiencing and appreciating that of others. For some students, the ASB Polyfest is the only opportunity that they have to develop a sense of belonging to their culture.”

“The festival encourages schools to simulate the traditional learning environment that used to exist in our communities. It is at the festival that we see the passing on of traditional customs including stories, language, beliefs and attitudes. This is so important to the survival of Maori and Pacific Island heritage.”

Next week will be the 37th staging of the ASB Polyfest. The festival runs until Saturday 17 March, with six stages in action – Cook Islands, Diversity, Niue, Maori, Samoan and Tongan.

Entry to the festival is only $5 with pre-school children free. The festival provides the public with a unique opportunity to experience Maori & Pacific Island culture in one place, so head along to the Manukau Sports Bowl from 14 – 17 March.

Key Details

Event: ASB Polyfest
Dates: 14 – 17 March 2012
Place: Manukau Sports Bowl, Te Irirangi Drive, Manukau
Entry: $5. Preschool children are free


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