90,000 expected to attend Polyfest this week

By Jessica Tyson

Around 90,000 people are expected to attend and watch the performances at the ASB Polyfest Festival from Wednesday to Saturday this week.

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 secondary schools students across the Auckland region are practicing hard in their final rehearsals in preparation to take to the stage.

Students will perform on one of the six stages including the Cook Islands, Maori, Niue, Samoan, Tongan and the Diversity stage.

For the first time, a Cook Island high school has been invited to perform at Polyfest.

Tereora High School, from Rarotonga, will take to the stage as special guests at the festival starting on Wednesday.

Teremoana College student and cultural performer Vaeruarangi Papera says, “Man I hope they really learn something from us we want to teach them something from the Cook Islands.”

Principal of Tereora High School Tania Morgan says they're excited for the opportunity.

“Naturally we're pumped.  We're geared up and we really are proud of our students, proud of our whole learning community that we've been able to get this far.”

Tereora College.

Polyfest director Seiuli Terri Leo-Mauu says the festival, now in its 43rd year, allows tamariki to “express themselves”.

“It's an avenue that creates time with our mamas and papas and learning the old ways of how to weave and make your costumes, how to sing or chant the way they do back home, how to articulate and pronounce words properly, how to be respectful and be disciplined, how to be a leader,” she says.

“All these attributes, characteristics, skills, our children take back to school and we hope that they apply these to their studies and future career aspirations."

The event will be held at the Manukau Sports Bowl.