Polyfest to taste a lit­tle Me­lane­sia

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Bishop Viard Col­lege will bring some­thing unique to Polyfest on Fri­day evening: the only Kiri­bati per­for­mance group in the Porirua basin.

The 20-strong stu­dent group prom­ises to bring some Me­lane­sian flavour to a pre­dom­i­nantly Poly­ne­sian cel­e­bra­tion.

Per­former Bernard Shutz, 18, said the group had chore­ographed a dance specif­i­cally for Polyfest, a mix of tra­di­tional and mod­ern styles.

Dancers in bright crowns, col­lars, sashes and bracelets will dis­play Kiri­bati danc­ing’s sig­na­ture shuf­fling steps and bird­like hand move­ments.

A song about one of Kiri­bati’s is­lands, Tei Nonoua, fea­tures.

‘‘I reckon the crowd will like it. I hope they like it.’’ Bernard said.

Bishop Viard is host­ing this year’s Polyfest, which will bring to­gether 840 col­lege per­form­ers from ev­ery Porirua and Tawa high school. A crowd of at least 2000 is ex­pected.

‘‘It’s a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity. It’s one of the only times the schools come to­gether cul­tur­ally,’’ Viard teacher and Polyfest MC Lui Lafou said.

‘‘It’s a good time to share and cel­e­brate. It’s about show­cas­ing who the stu­dents are.’’

Viard stu­dents will per­form a powhiri at Te Rau­paraha Arena, and its three per­for­mance groups will have 10 min­utes each on stage.

As host, Viard wanted to show its true colours, said Cathy Fa’amau, 17, leader of Viard’s 40-strong Samoan group.

‘‘We are a school of pride. We look at each other as fam­ily. Noth­ing is a com­pe­ti­tion,’’ she said. ‘‘ We’re go­ing to kill it this year.’’

Cathy’s high­light of the Samoan per­for­mance is a song called E Lag­ona Le Mafanafana.

‘‘One song is re­ally im­por­tant to us. It’s about our loved ones pass­ing away, feel­ing our warmth as we per­form. We are per­form­ing for them.’’

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Kiri­bati pride: Bishop Viard stu­dents are bring­ing a taste of Me­lane­sia to this year’s Polyfest.

Unit­ing Pasi­fika Poly­ne­sian Fes­ti­val (Polyfest), Fri­day Au­gust 23, 4pm till 10pm, Te Rau­paraha Arena. Tick­ets $10, un­der-5s free. Buy tick­ets from the arena or tick­et­di­rect.co.nz.

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