Smiling sisters step up for Samoa
They may not have any Samoan ancestry, but Tayla and Vienna Frost are preparing to dance the sasa at an Auckland cultural festival.
The pair will perform today at the Manukau Sportsbowl as part of Onehunga High School’s Samoan cultural group entry to ASB Polyfest, the largest Maori and Pacific Islands cultural festival in the world.
The annual festival for secondary schools brings together more than 9000 students from up to 60 schools throughout Auckland and attracts more than 80,000 spectators.
Tayla decided to join the group because it’s her last year at school and the event’s theme “many cultures, one world” appealed to her.
“I decided that I wanted to get involved because everyone gets excited by Polyfest and I wanted to be a part of it too.”
The 16-year-old helped convince younger sister Vienna to take part as well.
“People didn’t expect us to join or take an interest in another culture but it’s been great to learn about their dances like the sasa and the ma’ulu’ulu.
“Even though people have been surprised, they’ve also been really supportive,” says Tayla.
Pronunciation and the graceful hand movements have challenged Tayla but she says she has learnt more than she expected and is looking forward to performing.
“It’s been really cool learning about Samoan culture. They pride themselves on their modesty. I’m going to miss it when it ends.”
Vienna was initially too shy to join because she had missed the first practices but plenty of persuasion from Tayla and friends helped her overcome her fears.
The 14-year-old has not been disappointed but says she is still nervous about getting the moves right.
“It’s been fun learning something new. There have been lots of good times and good memories.”
Daily practice means students are ready to compete today, along with 181 other Race Relations Day will be celebrated in style in Mt Roskill this weekend with an event focused on bringing the suburb’s diverse community together.
The Roskill South Oasis, a community organisation set up last year, is holding a People in Your Neighbourhood Day tomorrow at Molley Green Reserve, which aims to celebrate what’s unique about the suburb. It will include cultural performances, ethnic food stalls, and fun for the kids including a bouncy castle, waterslide and games.
Roskill South Oasis coordinator Zena Wrigley says she hopes the event will be different to others, where often people have a look around and then go home.
The Auckland City Council, local schools, ethnic groups and businesses are among a number of organisations getting behind the day.
Council community services advisor Roger Earp says the event aims to strengthen the community by uniting them under one event.
As well as planning community events, Roskill South Oasis runs the Early Years Services Hub from its Glass Rd base.
Manager Bronwyn Guptill says it’s a one stop shop where locals cultural groups from across
can access Plunket and antenatal Auckland.
advice and English language, DIY, Polyfest officially opened
first aid and cooking classes. on Wednesday with kapa People in Your Neighbourhood haka, and speech competiDay starts at midday and runs untions. Stage performances
til 4.30pm at Molley Green Reserve, continue until the festival
Morrie Laing Ave, Mt Roskill. For closes tomorrow at 5pm.
more information, call 620-8079. Entry is $3, children under five are free.
Pacific pride: Sisters Tayla and Vienna Frost are proud to represent Onehunga High School’s Samoan group as part of this year’s Polyfest.