Sunday, March 3, 2024

Polyfest going ahead despite fear of coronavirus

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The Manukau Sports Bowl will burst into life in a fortnight’s time with the 45th anniversary of the ASB Polyfest.

From Wednesday, March 18 to Saturday, March 21 the Sports Bowl will reverberate with traditional song and dance from Auckland’s youth.

With regard to the coronavirus, the organisers of the ASB Polyfest are monitoring the advice and recommendations of the Ministry of Health on a regular basis, and at this stage are going ahead with the festival.

The Minister of Health, David Clark said last week: “We don’t have an outbreak in New Zealand, it’s perfectly safe,” when asked by media if events like the ASB Polyfest should go ahead.

Clark said, “We’re confident at this stage the chance of any spread into the community is very low, as long as people take the sensible precautions”.

He added “If anyone is feeling unwell they shouldn’t go to a big public event.”

And they should self-isolate.

The 2020 ASB Polyfest was officially launched by the Minster of Pacific People’s –Aupito William Sio at a special function at ASB’s North Wharf.

Offical launch of Polyfest 2020 with Minster of Pacific People Aupito William Sio (second left), Samoan Stage Co-ordinator – Toesulu Brown, student leaders Te Ahipourewa Garner-Forbes and Peteli Setu, ASB head of community, sponsorship and events Mark Graham. Photo supplied

This year’s festival will see more than 12,000 secondary school students from across the Auckland region perform on stage, with a record 286 performing groups entered (including three international groups) from 75 schools, with eight schools coming from outside of the Auckland region.

Students will compete in speech, song and dance on six  stages – Cook Islands, Maori, Niue, Samoan, Tongan, and a Diversity stage which features cultures such as Chinese, Fijian, Tokelau, Indian, Korean and Sri Lankan.

Another key component of the ASB Polyfest is food and craft.

Each stage has a surrounding village with food and craft stalls from the respective Maori or Pacific culture.

At the helm of the iconic Auckland festival is event director – Seiuli Terri Leo-Mauu who sees the festival as “more than four days of competition, speech and performances. It’s a place our children can express themselves, it’s an avenue that creates time with our mamas and papas and learning the old ways of how to weave and make your costumes, how to sing or chant the way they do back home, how to be respectful and be disciplined, how to be a leader.”

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