It’s back and it’s bigger than ever.
The world’s largest Polynesian and Maori festival kicked off on Wednesday at the Manukau Sports Bowl.
The 39th annual ASB Polyfest opened with a flag-raising ceremony and powhiri.
More than 9000 students from a record 62 schools from all over Auckland are taking to the stage at the festival, which runs until Saturday, before an expected audience of about 100,000.
was officially opened by kaumatua Eru Thompson and a performance by host school Western Springs College.
Mayor Len Brown says this year is ‘‘historic’’ for Polyfest with a record number of schools taking part.
‘‘It gets bigger and better each year,’’ he says.
‘‘The Polynesian spirit is the heart and soul of this place.’’
This year’s theme is ‘‘Care for our seas and our lands so that the safety of our home, both present and past, endures forever’’.