Smil­ing sis­ters step up for Samoa

Central Leader - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

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.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Pa­cific pride: Sis­ters Tayla and Vi­enna Frost are proud to rep­re­sent One­hunga High School’s Samoan group as part of this year’s Polyfest.

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