Polyfest

Covid restrictions mean a different look for Polyfest celebration

However, Covid-19 restrictions have meant that the event has taken on a different look from its usual cheering crowds. While the performers are live on stage, their audience is largely viewing online.

Crowd capacity limits and outdoor mask requirements are being dropped from 4 April. However, Polyfest organisers say that it's too late for them to change from the plans they put in place under the previous set of restrictions.

Papatoetoe High School teacher, Mikaela Bayly, said she is just thankful the event went ahead.

Covid forces Polyfest audiences online

Because of Omicron the Polyfest will be a shadow of its former self. The number of groups has dropped from around 200 pre-covid to just 68.

Sonny Haiosi has been attending for 18 years, watching his four daughters take the stage.

"It wouldn't be the same if you go there and there is not 100-thousand people there, I know that much. When you go to polyfest and you can't move around and that's from the time when you get to the gate which is pretty much feeding into Polyfest, that is Polyfest," Sonny Haiosi said.

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

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".

Calls grow for Polyfest to be canned amid coronavirus fears

Last weekend's Pasifika festival was cancelled amid fears that coronavirus could be spread.

So far, Polyfest's organisers are pushing ahead with the event in Manukau, saying extra precautions were being taken.

But Auckland councillor for Manukau, Efeso Collins, said people in the community were increasingly worried.

"Yeah, it's an absolute nightmare when you organise stages to go up but I think that nightmare is liveable if you know that you are not going to have serious health effects come out of holding the Polyfest.

Extra safety measures at Canterbury's Polyfest this year

Canterbury Polyfest has been celebrating Pasifika cultures, language and identity through song and dance for 19 years.

The extra safety precautions are due to last year's Christchurch mosque shooting, in which 51 people died, and the current Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers have stated on their Facebook page that they are in daily communication with the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Pacific student leaders to gather in Auckland for Polyfest conference

About 100 students will attend the ASB Polyfest Leaders Conference at Unitec on Wednesday and Thursday, which is aimed at empowering them before they return to school and ASB Polyfest group rehearsals.  

PMN News reports the students will hear and experience presentations from Annie Crummer and Luke Crawford, dance challenges with tutoring from Vincent Farane and Leki Jackson-Bourke, video challenges and cultural masterclasses.

Polyfest connects students with Samoan identity

Polyfest - the largest secondary school Māori and Pacific cultural festival - begins today in Auckland.

The St Peters College Samoan group were self-tutored last year and managed a third placing.

This year the group enlisted help from College old boys and their mothers and, although their sights are set on placing in the top three, it was not their main motivation.

Year 13 student Eddie Tongalahi does not speak Samoan but said the practices have allowed everyone to learn more about their culture.