Second year for digital Polyfest

Southland's Lumsden School pupils on stage during the 2019 Polyfest held at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill. Photo: File

THE boxes were all at the back door waiting to be transported to ILT Stadium Southland for this year’s Miharo Murihiku Polyfest.

However, after the Covid-19 lockdown announcement was made on August 16, the five-day festival was postponed from August 23 to September 27.

The boxes still patiently waited by the back door of Miharo waiting for a belated, but still exciting, outing.

But, on Friday, organisers had to make the difficult decision, for the second year in a row, to cancel this year’s event, replacing it, like last year, with a digital alternative.

Murihiku Festival programme and events manager Tania Carran said the packed boxes were still at the back door.

“I’m still in the grieving process,” she said.

The festival is a fusion of Pasifika culture involving more than 110 performances by pre-school, primary and secondary school cultural groups from throughout the region and further afield.

“It’s all about having a go,” she said.

The festival brings together 7000 performers, about 40,000 spectators with more than 100 volunteers also assisting at the event.

The decision to finally cancel the festival was a difficult one, Ms Carran said.

“After Monday’s announcement had we gone into level 1, we still may have considered cancelling it.

“With Delta, we don’t know what restrictions for gatherings may look like even at level 1.”

The event will now take place digitally with schools and child care centres able to video their performances which would then be played online.

Although the Invercargill event had to be cancelled, it was still hoped the Central Lakes Polyfest would still go ahead on October 20 and 21 at the Queenstown Events Centre.