One of the biggest events on the Auckland secondary schools' calendar - the Polyfest - will get a $200,000 in funding from the Government.

The ASB Polyfest, which celebrated its 42nd birthday this year, will get the money to help explore other options for the future of the festival, it was announced today.

Minister for Pacific Peoples, Alfred Ngaro, said his Ministry would also be bringing in a specialist to work with the Polyfest Trust to come up with new ways to push the festival forward.

Exactly what that specialist - who will get help from an advisory group - will be targeting is not yet known.


The annual four-day event, which takes place in March at the Manukau Sports Bowl in South Auckland, has continued to grow significantly over the years.

More than 9000 students from 220 performance groups from 60 high schools around Auckland took part in this year's event, which regularly attracts up to 90,000 spectators each year.

Ngaro said the festival helped to connect young Pasifika people with their heritage and to strengthen ties to their cultural identities.

"Our young people gain confidence, leadership and many other skills that set them up for a lifetime of success. We want to see the festival grow even stronger and have more Kiwis taking part and celebrating Pacific diversity.

"As the Pacific population is the youngest and fastest-growing in New Zealand, it becomes even more important that we strengthen Pacific languages, cultures and identities," he said.

"Polyfest is a perfect example of how we might achieve that."

The Polyfest Trust chairman, Patrick Drumm, was thankful for the grant and said it would help to continue the work that the festival promotes - the opportunity for young people to celebrate diversity and their identities.