Auckland's Polyfest allows students to take 'first step' in their cultural journey

The first step, the first move, the first call.

For many students, this year’s ASB Polyfest was their first chance to embrace their heritage on the grandest stage of them all.

With the Samoan and Tongan stages kicking off, it was natural some had butterflies.

"It feels good but I’m nervous at the same time," says a Year 7 St Peter's College Samoan student.

While for others, their competitive side was on show.

A Tongan student at Sacred Heart College says he joined the group to "make history, take home the dub and rep the culture".

It was Sacred Heart College student Austin Anitelea's first year in the Samoan group after two years doing Kapa Haka.

Anitelea says: "It’s been awesome, just to see all of us as one big family just perform out here."

And the brotherhood was evident at the Samoan stage boys’ competition.

Chairperson of the St Peter's College Samoan Parents' Association Leseaimalo Katie Ieriko says the school's Samoan group have bonded well over the last couple of months.

"We have a lot of new juniors who have joined the group so it’s been really exciting and encouraging to see them get to know their big brothers at St Peters, but also just really enjoy learning about who they are, where their parents came from, where their grandparents and ancestors have come from."​

After a two year absence, students were glad to enjoy what they love most about their culture.

"I love embracing the culture, singing for my family, performing for them and my mates," says Sacred Heart College student Noah Jamison.

A Mangere College Tongan group student says he enjoys "the way we dress, the actions throughout the stage and just having fun".

Austin Anitelea says his favourite part about being Samoan is "the food and visiting Samoa".

It's a call to other students, Pasifika and non-Pasifika, to take up the challenge of Polyfest next year.


Photo PMN News