By JORJA HETA

 

Polyfest 2017 just got started and we are SO PUMPED! Here are the top 10 reasons why we can’t get enough of it:

 

1. Costumes. You can never be overdressed and with the kakahu of Polynesian people, we can see a glimpse of their customs. From the Māori korowai to the Samoan lavalava ,it distinctly shows us who they are by what they wear. Polynesians are always one with the environment, placing Mother Nature on an equal basis as themselves and with flax, leaves and greenery being worn, their clothing really reflects that.

2. Popularity. In its 42nd year more than 9000 students will be competing at the event, with over 60 schools battling it out to see which group will win their cultural category!

3. Food. Imagine relaxing on one of your favourite islands, surrounded by the sweet smell of fry bread, pork buns, ika mata with coconut cream – the epitome of Pacific Island delicacies. Mmmm, is your mouth watering yet?

4. Musical sound. Polynesians have a knack for humour, cheek and fun layered with a melodic sound of harmonies and trills that can reach a higher pitch than a songbird. For our guys, their low voices can seduce anybody, and using their hands and surroundings as drumsticks and drum-kits, the entire audience is engaged with a catchy beat!

5. Atmosphere. Like all festivals this celebration is joy-packed with laughter, friends, entertainment and stalls to guarantee a fantastic few days of fun. It’s full immersion in a vibe that would make anyone want to skip a day or two of school. (Although we value school, this too is an educational experience!) 

Aorere College Tongan dance group.

6. Future leaders building their skills. With students from all year levels being able to take part, it allows seniors to become role models for their peers and help compose complex ideas for everyone to perform. Working towards Polyfest is a team effort that allows young people to develop confidence and communication skills, find their sense of identity and form strong friendships.

7. NCEA credits. With credits being offered at level 1, 2 and 3 and now being extended to Year 10s, Polyfest is not only a festival but also an opportunity to contribute to a student’s grades. Therefore, using school credits as a platform to celebrate success within the performing arts shows that what they do is just as valuable as academic and sporting success.

8. Dance. Seeing these fresh moves on the scene is a completely unique experience. Separate from modern, contemporary or urban dance, traditional movements passed down from ancestors weave a story of a culture’s journey through time.

9. The Diversity Stage. Polyfest offers this category to fit the theme of ‘Nurturing Leadership Through Culture.’ It opens Wednesday 15th March with a cultural instrument and musical competition, showcasing a variety of performances by schools. 

10. It’s the biggest Polynesian festival in the world, and it’s held right here in New Zealand. In blatant honesty, although we have Lorde and legendary All Black players, we’re still regarded by some people as being part of Australia. These misconceptions about our small but culturally rich country can be shot down when tourists see that we have something a few of them don’t. That is, a history of indigenous people of the Pacific, rich language, tantalising food and special customs presented every year at the annual Polyfest event!

 

Jorja recently caught up with some of the performers from Kelston Boys’ High School. Click here for an insight into the life of Polyfest champions!

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