Regional | Anniversary

Otago Polyfest to celebrate 30 years of Māori and Pasifika children's 'beautiful cultures'

South Otago High School Te Kapa Haka o Iwi Katea, 2022 Otago Polyfest.  Photo / Supplied 

Otago Polyfest will celebrate its 30th anniversary this September.

One of the oldest festivals in the country celebrating Māori and Pasifika culture, Otago Polyfest draws in upwards of 160 schools and more than 6000 performers.

Otago Girls' and Boys' High Schools Kapa Haka Wairua Pūhou, 2022 Otago Polyfest.  Photo / Supplied 

"Since its beginning in 1993, the Otago Polyfest has been a significant annual cultural event for Otago early learning services, schools, high schools and whānau, encouraging participation, inclusion and positive cross-cultural relationships," organiser Te Mana Āhua Ake Trust said this week.

At its core, the festival is about giving young Māori and Pasifika children 'a platform to celebrate their beautiful cultures', a past festival director has said.

Otago Girls' and Boys' High Schools Pacific, 2022 Otago Polyfest.  Photo / Supplied  

The 30th celebrations will run from Monday, September 11 to Saturday, September 16.

A trust release says it warmly invites friends, whānau, kaiako, and members of the public to save these dates, and join in the anniversary celebrations "by supporting all our tamariki and rangatahi from Ōamaru to Kaitangata take the stage at the MoreFM Arena in Dunedin".

Fenwick School Pasifika, 2022 Otago Polyfest.  Photo / Supplied  

The festival which aims to promote te reo Māori and Pacific languages began as an afternoon of performances by a few Dunedin primary schools 30 years ago and is now a significant cultural event for Otago schools and whānau.