Polyfests back on the live stage

    Raiha Blair performs for Waverley Park School. Photo: James Jubb

    THOUSANDS of children and young people are about to take to the stage in celebration of youth, culture and art.

    Miharo Murihiku Trust will be hosting the Murihiku and Central Lakes polyfests, giving preschoolers to high school pupils the opportunity to celebrate Maori and Pasifika cultures with their wider communities.

    Miharo programme and development manager Tania Carran said 7500 performers were expected to take part in the Murihiku Polyfest, which would run for five days from Monday, August 23, to Friday, August 27, 9am-3pm, with Thursday evening performances from 6pm-9.30pm at ILT Stadium Southland.

    The public were also invited to attend, with a gold coin admission.

    Central Lakes Polyfest would be held on Monday, September 13, and Tuesday, September 14, at the Queenstown Events Centre.

    More than a decade ago, Polyfest began as a one-day event with 250-300 performers, which had since grown to a five-day festival with evening performances.

    “The non-competitive polyfests were about participation and have become strong cultural and arts platforms for many young people to showcase their talents,” Carran said.

    Participation was the “big thing”.

    It was also refreshing to see the event return to the pre-Covid-19 stage.

    Due to Covid-19 uncertainly last year, Polyfest was mainly held online with one day of performances for high school pupils.

    However, going by the number of entries this year, performers were keen to return to live appearances.

    Thursday night, in particular, was the Rangatahi (young people) Toa Showcase which would feature 10 groups, including a performance by Christchurch’s Cobham Intermediate School, Carran said.

    Many of the young people would be excited to see the guest emcee was rapper, singer and songwriter Kings (Kingdon Chappie-Wilson), she said.

    With more than 35,000-40,000 audience numbers expected throughout the festival, volunteers also played a huge part in Polyfest.

    Between 100-150 people helped in various roles, from tour guides and meet and greet, to assisting with pupils and buses, catering, backstage and audience assistance, while some young people were also mentored n by 12 key leaders.

    “Some of the youth who are interested in various topics, such as service to the community or culinary, are matched up with a leader to learn from.”

    • For more information, go to the Miharo Murihiku Facebook page.