Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Diversity stage brought to life at Polyfest 2016

Korean Fan Dance from St Dominic's College at the ASB Polyfest. Photo / Ben Campbell
Korean Fan Dance from St Dominic's College at the ASB Polyfest. Photo / Ben Campbell

Colourful costumes, African beats and the sounds of Asia signalled day two of the country's biggest secondary schools' cultural festival Polyfest.

The diversity stage came alive at the Manukau Sports Bowl today, where Chinese, Sri Lankan, African, Japanese, Indian, Korean and Filipino groups were among those to show off their cultural pride.

A total of 34 school groups took part on the diversity stage today and more will perform tomorrow. The Pacific stages Samoan, Tongan, Niuean, Cook Islands will open tomorrow and Saturday, as well as the Maori stage, which has been going since yesterday.

The popularity of the stage has grown steadily over the years after it was introduced only a few years ago to the traditionally Maori and Polynesian festival.

Diversity stage co-ordinators, Sarah Woods and Ranee Prasad, said the growth they continued to see on that particularly stage represented the changing cultural face of Auckland.

"The stage accepts all cultural groups that fall outside the Maori and Pacific Island stages," they said.

"[It's] giving a wide range of cultures the opportunities to showcase who they are and where they come from."

The Polyfest, sponsored by ASB Bank, celebrates its 41st birthday this year and is considered the world's largest secondary schools' Pasifika and Maori cultural festival.

More than 9000 students from 64 high schools around Auckland are participating this year. They make up a record 228 cultural groups performing over the four-day event.

Meanwhile, the Tongan stage is preparing for a special guest this year the Kingdom's Princess Pilolevu Tuita, who is the sister of the current leader, King Tupou VI.

A spokesman for the festival confirmed they were expecting a member of the Tongan royal family and were preparing accordingly.

The last time a royal signalled they were attending, a special chair and a separate Portaloo was brought in specifically for them.

- NZ Herald

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