Polyfest to taste a little Melanesia
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.’’
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.