ASB Polyfest returns to Auckland after two year break

Manukau Sports Bowl came alive this morning with the powerful echo of voices from Kura Matua schools marking the start of Auckland’s ASB Polyfest.

The hoisting of flags at dawn by Maori and Pacific community leaders was especially poignant as it marks the return of the iconic Maori and Pacific schools festival after two years.

The 45-year-old festival was cancelled over the last two years due to the Christchurch shooting in 2019 and last year’s COVID 19 lockdown.

ASB Polyfest Trustee Mama Tupou Manapouri says it is just so important for our students to return to the stage and celebrate who they are.

“After the lengthy COVID 19 lockdowns we all needed to get back to some kind of normalcy and mental wellbeing.”

Event director Seiuli Terri Leo-Mau'u says they have had to change the format in keeping with COVID 19 safety requirements.

“The new format will see the Niue Stage sharing with Diversity Stage, Tongan Stage share with the Cook Islands Stage, Samoan Stage share with the speech competitions, and Maori Stage hosting its three divisions over the festival’s four day duration.

“As a Polyfest family, we are connected through our healing and cultural strengths.

“We also celebrate our identity and diversity by honouring our heritage - our past, present and future. Together, we share in this journey and as we prepare to make new memories and create new experiences,” Seiuli Terri Leo Mau’u says.

More than 49 schools will deliver 150 performances on the four stages over the next four days.