Entertainment | Polyfest

Polyfest 2024: ‘We need that Greyhound track’ for the Māori stage

Polyfest director Seiuli Leo-Mau’u has made the plea to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters ahead of next year’s 50th celebrations.

There are growing calls to have the spacious greyhound racing track at the Manukau Sports Bowl set aside for the Māori stage at Polyfest 2025, after organisers were told not to use it this year.

Instead, the Māori stage was placed at the cycling track, which made it hard for staff to direct traffic as thousands poured through in support of their tamariki on stage.

Director of Polyfest, Seiuli Terri Leo-Mauu, made a plea for help to Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters during his visit to the festival.

“Rt. Honourable Winston Peters, we need that Greyhound track for our festival next year, can you help us with that?

“To our dignitaries and sponsors, I ask you, I leave this with you, how important is ASB Polyfest to you?”

Organisers of the Māori stage were told that the greyhound track was unavailable due to maintenance and an event.

However, Seiuli believes getting the track should be prioritised for their 50th celebrations next year, especially if they think Polyfest is important for rangatahi in Tāmaki Makaurau.

“I was told to be more diplomatic about this, we ain’t got time for that.”

“ASB Poyfest is turning 50 and we will continue for another 50 years because hundreds of thousands of people have performed, lived and breathed this festival. Their children and their children’s children will do the same, and with your help we will get them there.”

Seiuli also mentioned in her address to Peters, Minister of Pacific Peoples Dr Shane Reti and other National Party members, that this year had been the hardest to obtain funding for the festival.

Māori stage organiser Tracey Watkinson says they have put a group together to see how they can get more funding for Polyfest’s 50th birthday.

“It takes a budget to run the stage and the 50th celebrations is additional to that budget, and that is a big thing for that kāhui to come up with that pūtea to be able to run celebrations alongside that.”

“For me, I’m looking forward to the first hui of that kāhui to set the planning, and from there will see what that looks like for the 50th.”

Winners of division three Te Rōpū Manukura and division two Ngā Oho: Ngā Puna o Waiōrea, will both be promoted to higher divisions in 2025.