Stu­dents ready for Polyfest

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

Tiresa Euta and Paer­ata Ro­bati say cel­e­brat­ing Porirua’s dif­fer­ent cul­tures and hear­ing the roar of the crowd are just two rea­sons why Polyfest is such a big event on the city’s cal­en­dar.

Aotea Col­lege is host­ing the fes­ti­val – of­fi­cial name North­ern Re­gional Poly­ne­sian Fes­ti­val – at Te Rau­paraha Arena on July 31.

Tiresa and Paer­ata are among more than 100 Aotea stu­dents who are re­hears­ing three times a week in the lead-up.

The school, along with open­ing the event with a powhiri and haka, will have five groups per­form­ing on stage dur­ing the day, rep­re­sent­ing Toke­lau, Cook Is­lands, Samoa, Tonga and a kapa haka group.

Tiresa, who will be on stage for the first time, said it was a big re­spon­si­bil­ity host­ing Polyfest, which this year will in­cor­po­rate Porirua’s 50th birth­day in its Poly­ne­sian flavour.

For her, Polyfest is the big­gest event she will take part in dur­ing her school year.

‘‘We need to be com­mu­ni­cat­ing with other schools and mak­ing sure the day goes smoothly,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s a great way to pro­mote Aotea, show off the pride we have and build those re­la­tion­ships with eth­nic groups, in­side and out­side the school.

‘‘We [stu­dents] might have been born in New Zealand, but our par­ents teach us about our home in the Pa­cific and that’s their gift to us, so we need to show off those val­ues.’’

Tiresa said there was healthy com­pe­ti­tion among the groups at Aotea and with other schools to put on the best per­for­mance, but Polyfest was not so much about who was the best, as it was about hav­ing fun and rep­re­sent­ing your cul­ture.

Aotea Col­lege as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal Jamie O’Con­nor said Polyfest was a big un­der­tak­ing for the hosts.

More than 100 stu­dents from his school will take part, another 600 from other schools in the Porirua basin and New­lands Col­lege will per­form, and spec­ta­tors will easily num­ber more than 2000 through­out the day.

Aotea Col­lege Pa­cific li­ai­son Sharon Fale­tu­tulu said prepa­ra­tion and re­hearsal for Polyfest brought out the best in stu­dents, staff and par­ents.

‘‘This fes­ti­val has been around for a few years now, so it’s not hard for the school to grasp what needs to be done,’’ she said.

‘‘The arena is a great venue and the noise and colour as our young peo­ple celebrate their cul­ture is what it’s all about.’’

Paer­ata will be per­form­ing at his third Polyfest and said each time was spe­cial.

‘‘It’s a real good vibe and you want to give it your all and do your best on stage. You al­ways feel pumped up with all the noise and cheer­ing,’’ he said.

Aotea Col­lege’s Paer­ata Ro­bati in full flow at last year’s Polyfest.

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