Pacific | Niue

Ngāti Ōtara Marae hosts primary school from Niue

Niue Primary School flies over to participate in this year’s 2024 ASB Polyfest.


Toa Niue Ma Anoiha - Niue Warriors for the Future are the newest kids on the marae block in South Auckland.

Niue Primary School has brought over 38 years five and six students and 11 adults including teachers and staff, and they will perform at this year’s Polyfest.

Among them is school principal Carol Edwards, who says they are here to help spread a climate change message through a cultural exchange with Rowandale and Favona primary schools.

“Because we know that Niue is on the endangered list as an endangered language, so as part of that, we want to make connections with our families down here, our friends who have Niuean blood, so they would be able to try and promote it and try and sustain our language.”

The group of 49 is camping out at the Ngāti Ōtara Marae as they prepare to perform at this year’s 49th ASB Polyfest at the Manukau Sports Bowl.

Over the past 12 months, the school has been fundraising to pay for flights, accommodation, and activities for their 10-day stay.

A trio of firsts for tamariki

That was a tough task as Niue’s minimum wage is just NZ$7 an hour but Edwards says that’s why being over in Aotearoa feels even more special.

“You know the community was amazing, to be able to raise so much money in such a short period of time to get our students here because I think they saw the value of it and they all wanted to get their children to come over.”

On the Niuean stage at this year’s secondary schools competition, they’ll be blessed with a special ukulele performance by the young tamariki.

For many students, it was their first time on a plane, in another country, and staying at a marae.

The overall consensus of their stay so far is they enjoy the food the most but sleeping with all their schoolmates under one roof is a new sensation.

“It feels a bit weird with other kids, and how they sleep but it feels like a family.”

Their performance will be this Saturday at 2 pm on the Niuean stage.