Regional | Māori

Otago Polyfest moved to October due to Covid-19 risk

Photo / File

The Otago Polyfest will now be held in mid-October after organisers rescheduled the festival due to the risks of Covid-19. The change of dates follows last year's decision to cancel the festival due to the pandemic.

Originally, planned for mid-September, the new dates for the 28th Otago Polyfest to be held in Ōtepoti, Dunedin are Monday 18 October to Friday 22 October.

“The decision to postpone is preferable to cancelling,” said co-chair, Angelina Kiore. “Last year was disappointing for us all - especially the senior secondary school students. We are mindful of the challenges that schools and early learning services have been dealing with and the changes they will need to make.

“Our priority right now is the health and well-being of our communities and ensuring that we are following government guidelines and advice. It was so heartening to receive support from people across the education sector to postpone this year’s festival,” said Kiore.

Source / Otago Polyfest (YouTube)

Otago Polyfest is one of the oldest festivals in the country celebrating Māori and Pasifika culture, with upwards of 160 schools involved and more than 6000 performers.

Festival director Tanya Muagututi'a told the Otago Daily Times earlier this month that at its core Otago Polyfest is about giving young Māori and Pasifika children a platform to celebrate their beautiful cultures.

The festival, which has a key aim of promoting te reo Māori and other Pacific languages, began in 1993 as an afternoon of performances by a few Dunedin primary schools and is now regarded as a significant cultural event for Otago schools and families.