Indigenous | Pasifika

Corned beef-holding competition attracts youth to fill out surveys

The first corned beef holding competition kicked off on the second day at the biggest Polynesian festival globally.

Le Vā, a non-profit organisation is hosting a contest to see who can hold four cans of corned beef on each arm the longest at the 2023 ASB Polyfest.

Le Vā senior project manager Jim Stretton, who came up with the idea, says it was important to try something new that would attract youth to their tent.

“We've got so many cool things just to engage with our Pasifika youth because we understand that we can’t expect them to come to us.

We have to captivate them, we have to go to where they are, which is ASB Polyfest, the biggest Polynesian festival in the world. We've got some really fun stuff, so come check us out,” he says.

Survey for youth

Le Vā is a youth organisation that supports Pasifika families and communities by providing services to help improve their health and well-being.

Its stall at Polyfest aims to get 16-24-year-olds to fill out a survey to get a picture of what services to provide rangatahi in a time of need.

Le Vā general manager Dr Elizabeth Mati says their unique print on the tent of a fale was important to make it inviting for young ones.

“We wanted it to represent us. We love all the other tents and stuff but we wanted to have an actual fale because this represents home to us.

This is our soul, it also represents our family, and we wanted to make sure it represents our culture and everything we do.” Mati says.

A 360-degree camera shot is also a draw card for students to enter their fale as well as music pumping from the marquee speakers.

Dealing with life's challenges

Stretton says it’s a world first and it has bought positivity to their working day as they discuss heavy topics with children.

“We’ve had some really amazing healthy competition and it’s been pretty cool.

We’ve had a few people do it including some army people but even our students have beaten them,” he says.

The organisation's stall has been set there for surveys to be filled out by certain age groups to get a perspective on how youth deal with life's challenges.

Le Vā works mainly with primary prevention, which includes suicide, domestic violence, mental health, and addictions.

Joshua Savea, who is half Samoan and flew in from Canada, felt it was a good survey because it raised awareness about the support out there for youth if necessary.

Hoping for help

“I felt supported, I found out what support I have already and what support I can get especially if I am feeling stressed at school or in life.

I hope from this survey though that they do come up with programmes or with ways to help the younger people that will benefit them,” Savea says.

The top three longest corned beef-holders of each day will go into the draw to win Beats by Dre headphones on Saturday afternoon.