Diverse cultures of Tāmaki Makaurau on stage today at ASB Polyfest

By Leo Horgan
  • Auckland

Auckland’s diverse cultural make-up will be on stage today at the 2017 ASB Polyfest, when performances on the NZMA Diversity Stage get underway from 9am.

The NZMA Diversity Stage has enjoyed huge growth in recent years, celebrating ethnicities which sit outside the festival’s traditional Maori, Cook Islands, Niuean, Tongan and Samoan performance categories.

72 groups will hit the diversity stage this year, representing 21 different cultures.  Indian culture will be the most popular culture represented with 20 groups, followed by Fijian and Chinese with seven groups each, Filipino with six groups, and African and Korean with five groups each.

Some highly diverse groups on the NZMA Diversity Stage today are a Vietnamese Group from Papatoetoe High School at 9:30am, Kiribati group from Pukekohe High School at 10:20am, a Spanish group from One Tree Hill College at 12:15pm, Tuvaluan group from Waitakere College at 12:35pm and a Hawaiian group from Papatoetoe High School at 2:30pm.

Stage co-ordinators Sarah Woods and Ranee Prasad say “the huge growth in the NZMA Diversity Stage represents the changing cultural face of Auckland.  The stage accepts all cultural groups that fall outside the Maori and Pacific Island stages, giving them the opportunity to showcase who they are and where they come from at the ASB Polyfest.”

Today also sees 12 kapa haka groups on the Te Whare Wanaga o Awanuiarangi Maori Stage.  These Performances are from 8:30am –4:00pm and will complete the Division 3 competition.

The AUT Cook Islands Stage, MIT Niue Stage, University of Auckland Samoan Stage and Massey University Tongan Stage host speech competitions today.  This year’s speeches have topics based around road and transport safety. 

A further highlight of the ASB Polyfest today is the primary and intermediate schools programme which sees 400 students from Belmont Intermediate, Everglade Primary, Glen Eden Primary, Pt England School and Weymouth Primary have their own ASB Polyfest experience from 10am – 1pm. 

ASB head of community, sponsorship and events Mark Graham says - “ASB began its sponsorship of Polyfest more than 33 years ago and we’re thrilled to remain a big part of the festival today. As one of our longest and most-treasured partnerships, we are proud to support ASB Polyfest.”

ASB Polyfest 2017 takes place at the ASB Sports Bowl from Wednesday 15 March to Saturday, 18 March.  Entry is $5, with pre-school children free of charge.

For our full coverage, including performance clips and the whakaeke of each kapa haka rōpū, click here.