The world’s largest Maori and Pacific Island festival, the ASB Polyfest got underway yesterday at the Manukau Sports Bowl in Auckland.
The four-day festival started with a special flag-raising ceremony, followed by the festival Powhiri where the festival guests (manuhiri) were welcomed by the hosts (Tainui and Pacific Island leaders), and an official opening by the Mayor of Auckland – Phil Goff.
This afternoon, the ASB Polyfest welcomes some special guests to the Manukau Sports Bowl with Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern and the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio attending the 44th Anniversary of the festival from 2:30– 3:30pm this afternoon.
The Prime Minister and Minister for Pacific Peoples will visit the TWWoA Maori Stage and Unitec Diversity Stage during their festival walkabout, meeting some of the 12,000 students that will grace a festival stage during the four-day duration.
234 school groups will take to one of festival’s six stages this year. From its small beginnings 44 years ago where four schools took part, the ASB Polyfest has developed into one of Auckland‘s largest events, with 66 schools entering groups this week.
One stage that has seen huge growth is the Unitec Diversity Stage, which accommodates groups outside the festival’s traditional Maori, Cook Islands, Niuean, Tongan and Samoan performance categories.
82 groups will hit the diversity stage this year, representing 22 different cultures. Indian is most popular culture represented with 14 groups, followed by Chinese, Fijian and Filipino with eight groups each, and Korean with seven groups.