Cultural connections found at Auckland’s Polyfest

Young ones are demonstrating pride and passion for their cultural heritage at this week’s ASB Polyfest.

Tāmaki Makaurau – Auckland – is the biggest hub of Pasifika people in Aotearoa, and Polyfest, which runs from 20-23 March, provides a unique opportunity for Polynesian youth to embrace these indigenous backgrounds.

Over 200 teams from 69 schools across Aotearoa were in attendance to represent their ethnic backgrounds.

Festival director Terri Leo-Mauu said Polyfest provides a pathway for people to connect with their cultural backgrounds.

“It’s important for them to carry on the tradition, a rite of passage almost.

“And it’s also important to them because they get to belong to something; they get to meet friends along the way and get to share this journey with other people.”

Polyfest Auckland 2024

The youth agreed – Allen Palemia, the youth leader for Aorere College’s Samoan team, said participants develop a deeper appreciation for their heritage.

“Polyfest is important because it is one of the ways we can express our culture and further connect and appreciate it.” he said.

Palemia’s classmate, Tamalisi Langi, echoed his sentiments.

As the leader of the Tongan team he said the festival helps connect youth with their motherlands.

“Polyfest is important to Pasifika people because it’s where we can find where our home is, without flying across the country, across the world.”

Polyfest Auckland 2024

Myarles Teagai from Massey High School, who represented Tuvalu, said performers can be voices for their nations.

“We’re suffering with climate change so we’re here to tell our stories,” he said.

“We’re here to express our culture and put Tuvalu on the map.”

Polyfest runs up until Saturday afternoon at the Manukau Sports Bowl.

Next year’s event will be the 50th anniversary of Polyfest.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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