ASB Polyfest showcase for students’ cultural pride

posted: 8:50 am - 6th March 2018
5142 Low Res Tongan Warriors Aorere College 958x643

(Picture caption: Tongan warrior dance by Aorere College at a past ASB Polyfest. This year’s ASB Polyfest kicks off on March 14.CREDIT 

The stage has been set for ASB Polyfest 2018, the largest Polynesian festival in the world, to take place in South Auckland after the official launch event at ASB Cube recently.   

Secondary school students from around New Zealand have been practising for months in cultural groups for the annual event, held from March 14-17 at Manukau Sports Bowl.

 Featuring traditional music, dance, costume and speech, ASB Polyfest is now recognised as an important showcase of NZ’s diverse cultures and a celebration of youth cultures. 

Close to 100,000 spectators will attend the 43rd celebration of ASB Polyfest to watch students compete on five stages, performing traditional items from the Cook Islands, Maori, Niue, Samoan and Tongan cultures. 

The Diversity stage will also feature performances from a range of cultural groups including Fijian, Tokelau, Chinese, Korean and Indian. 

Associate Minister for Pacific Peoples and newly appointed Minister for Social Development, for Disability Issues and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon. Carmel Sepuloni attended last night’s launch and says she is looking forward to the upcoming festival. 

“ASBPolyfest being the largest Pacific youth festival in the world, celebrates and showcases the diversity of our cultures, our languages and importantly our youth of today,” Ms Sepuloni says.  

“This year’s theme in the Indigenous language of this land is,

Tuia te muka tangata

Tuia te muka wairua

Whiria te ahurea tuakirikiri

Whiria te ahurea tuamanomano

 Which translates to;

 Thread the fibres of humanity

Thread the fibres of spiritual well being

Bind together the essence of cultural identity

Weave together the diverseness of cultural awareness.” 

“As a Minister for the Crown, supporting my colleague Hon. Aupito William Sio in his role as Minister for Pacific Peoples, this theme resonates with me as it has allowed me to be an active leader, contributing to the economic, spiritual and cultural wellbeing of our people,” she says. 

Pacific cultures are unique, a point of difference, and our voice, Ms Sepuloni adds, and it is important to nurture cultures and keep that identity alive to ensure our youth thrive on any stage they take on. 

With such a youthful population - half of which are aged 22.1 years and younger (compared to the New Zealand median age of 38 years), it is important to continue to encourage young people to see the value of embracing their Pacific heritage; and to pursue their goals.  

As well as continuing to succeed in the cultural, sports and arts areas where there has always been an abundance of Pacific talent, Ms Sepuloni says there is a need to see more Pasifika in STEM (Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering) industries and jobs where much of NZ’s future economic wellbeing lies. 

Grateful and humbled toserve all NZ, Ms Sepuloni is a proud Tongan and Samoan woman, and mother to two beautiful children who inspire her to serve Pacific communities every day.    

“I am looking forward to seeing some of the performances and engaging with our communities and youth at ASB Polyfest - I wish all our young ones competing this year the very best,” she says.

 Visit ASB Polyfest for more information.