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Entertainment | Polyfest

Shane Reti commits to funding PolyFest 2025 despite government funding cuts

The Minister for Pacific Peoples says the commitment is made in a “constrained environment”.

Amid swathes of government spending cuts, Pacific Peoples Minister Minister Shane Reti is promising funding for 2025′s Polyfest remains safe.

Set to celebrate its 50th birthday next year, Polyfest is one of the largest Pasifika festivals in the world, combining Māori and Pasifika secondary school students into a cultural melting pot.

Asked if he’d consider more funding to ensure Polyfest can run for another 50 years, Reti said, “the Ministry of Pacific Peoples will be a sponsor at next year’s Polyfest, the 50th celebration of this festival”.

Reti said the commitment of funding was a “clear indication” of Polyfest’s importance to the Pasifika community and himself as a minister.

“We can have nice words. We can have patipati. We can say all sorts of nice soundbites but, actually, when you put your hand in your pocket and support a festival and support an event, that’s really walking the walk.”

Reti noted that the commitment to next year’s funding is made against a “constrained environment”. It follows announcements of hundreds of proposed job cuts in the public sector this week as the National-led government works to rein in spending to pay for its planned tax cuts.

Speaking at a festival full of rangatahi, Reti acknowledged the “sadness” of young Māori and Pasifika leaving study early to pick up work and support their families.

“That by itself is a tragedy. We have every ambition to address the cost of living so that these people have the opportunity for a good life.”