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Otago Polyfest celebrates 25 years

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Excitement is building for thousands of Otago children and young people as they prepare to take to the stage for the 25th Otago Polyfest.

Co-Chair Pip Laufiso says, “This year’s festival celebrates the quarter-century of manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga that’s made the Otago Polyfest one of the country’s biggest volunteer-run community events.”

This impressive festival of Māori and Pasifika cultural performances will be held at the More FM Arena in the Edgar Centre from Monday 10 to Friday 14 September.

A five-day event enjoyed by an audience of more than 10,000, the Otago Polyfest relies on outstanding commitment and enthusiasm from thousands of pupils, teachers and whanau and a dedicated volunteer crew.

“This year looks like another record effort. We had more than 6500 tamariki and rangatahi on stage last year in almost 150 groups. With an extra day added and momentum building around the anniversary, we’re hoping to see even more people involved,” says Ms Laufiso.

Growing numbers travel to Dunedin for the festival, with groups expected from Oamaru, Cromwell and South Otago this year.

The festival opens on Monday evening, starting at 6pm. The mornings are mostly early childhood services, with primary school groups performing in the afternoons. Senior primary and secondary school groups perform in the evening sessions. Thursday evening presents the region’s most accomplished secondary school groups.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary, an open invitation is being extended to individuals and groups to perform at an ‘open mic’ community concert on Friday evening. “We look forward to welcoming the incredible local talent to the Polyfest stage. So many of them have participated in this festival.”

The festival gives everyone a chance to participate and encourages positive cross-cultural relationships. A key aim is to promote te reo Māori and other Pacific languages, and the festival coincides with Te Wiki o te Reo Māori.

The entry fee continues to be only $2 per session and the organisers suggest people give themselves plenty of time to park and get a seat. The timetable may run a little ahead, or behind schedule, and the doors to the arena are closed during each performance.

The Otago Polyfest Committee is grateful for the ongoing support and generosity of funders such as the Dunedin City Council, Otago Community Trust, Te Taura Whiri, Pasefika Proud and suppliers including Strawberry Sound, Bramwells, the Edgar Centre, Southern Lights, SPS Security, The Video Factory and Ribbonwood Nurseries. Information stalls are staffed by organisations who support Polyfest, such as the NZ Fire Service, Victoria University, the Otago Polytechnic and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Anyone interested in attending this unique cultural showcase is very welcome – nau mai, haere mai.


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