Auckland, Saturday, March 18, 2017
Prime Minster Bill English will attend the ASB Polyfest at the Manukau Sports Bowl from 11 am to 1 pm today.
This will be the fourth consecutive year the country’s leader has attended ASB Polyfest, with former Prime Minister John Key commenting at a previous festival: “I cannot think of anything that’s much more significant for youngsters than being able to come along over the course of four days, get to meet a whole lot of new friends and engage in activities that are going on here.”
This is the 42nd anniversary of the ASB Polyfest, with more than 9000 students performing across the festival’s four days. They have been part of the 228 performing groups which have taken to the festival’s six stages, representing 60 schools from across the Auckland region.
Prime Minister Bill English will first be at the University of Auckland Samoan Stageon his arrival to the ASB Polyfest, which is the final day of the four-day festival.
ASB Polyfest event director Theresa Howard said, “Today is where the ‘cream’ of the Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island and Niue groups perform on stage. The public will see amazing Pacific Island performances, and kapa haka at its best with the Division One groups battling it out not only for the title, but for places in the national kapa haka competition.”
ASB head of community, sponsorship and events Mark Graham said that ASB Polyfest is a landmark event on ASB’s cultural calendar.
“Each year, we are blown away by the talent, passion and pride displayed on each of the ASB Polyfest stages. It’s a privilege to be involved in the world’s largest Maori and Pacific Island festival, and to embrace all of the cultures represented,” he said.
Battle for the Crown
The Te Whare Wanaga o Awanuiarangi Maori stagefeatures the powerhouses of school kapa haka from 8 am to 5 pm today.
Fourteen schools will battle for the coveted Maori Stage crown with Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi looking to defend their Division One titleat 3:30pm this afternoon.
Their biggest threats are expected to come from Nga Puna o Waiorea – Western Springs College (at 3 pm)who won four straight Division One titles from 2012-2015, and Auckland Girls’ Grammar Kahurangi (at 8 am) who took the title in 2008 and 2009.
Southern Cross Campus are looking to defend their title on the AUT University Cook Islands Stage at 2 30 pm. Their main competition is likely to come from 2014-15 winners Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate who are stage at 11 am, and Mangere College who won the title in 2013, and are on stage at 120 pm.
The MIT Niue Stage will be reverberating with seven Niue groups from 930 am to 2 pm, with Auckland Girls Grammar looking to defend their title at 930 am.
The University of Auckland Samoan Stagehas 15 groups performing traditional Samoan dances from 8 am.
Groups compete on this stage in three divisions: Boys, Girls and Coeducational schools.
It is the co-ed schools on stage today with the defending champs Mangere Collegeperforming at 2 15 pm.
The Massey University Tongan Stage features vibrant Tongan dances such as the Ma’ulu’ulu and Kailao from 8 am to 2 pm, with 24 school groups performing at the biggest festival.
ASB Polyfest 2017 is being held at the ASB Sports Bowl. Entry is $5 (free for pre-school children)
- Niue Warrior (Manurewa High School)
- Cook Island Hula (Avondale College)
- Birkenhead College Kapa Haka