Pacific | Polyfest

Polyfest celebrates Pacific cultures with focus on language and unity


Tāmaki Makaurau witnessed a vibrant celebration today as the 49th ASB Polyfest began with a pōwhiri (formal welcome), embracing the richness of Polynesian culture through language, song, and unity.

The event, held at the new Māori stage, saw a notable increase in attendance but due to safety measures accommodating only half the usual crowd size.

Head judge Tianara Wihongi emphasised the significance of amplifying the voices of Māori and Pacific representatives, stating, “This is the example, to listen carefully to the opinions of the representatives of our society in the Māori world, the Samoan world and the Tongan world.”

Wihongi highlighted the event’s commitment to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi, ensuring inclusivity and respect for all cultures represented.

Wihongi also acknowledged the four schools – Mangere, Aorere, Tahiirere, and Ngaa Puna o Waiorea – whose collaborative efforts hosted the festivities. Wihongi expressed appreciation, acknowledging their role in creating an event tailored to youth.

“What they wanted was something not for the parents but for the young people.”

Wihongi said the Polyfest was a platform for youth empowerment.

The culmination of the schools’ joint efforts was evident despite the challenges faced this year, as Wihongi reflected on the resilience displayed by participants. “That is the fruition of that programme between these four schools. Therefore next year, they will keep smiling. They will be keeping staunch to their beliefs and practices of their cultures despite the difficulties of this year,” Wihongi said.