2021 ASB Polyfest theme
"Mā roto mai i te Ahurea whirikoka,
ko te whakaora tinana, hinengaro,
wairua me te ira tangata"
“Healing the body, mind, spirit and soul
with the strength of Culture”
The ASB Polyfest, Auckland Secondary Schools Maori & Pacific Islands Cultural Festival, is back in 2021 and will celebrate its 45th anniversary this year. Like many large events last year, this iconic festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This, coupled with the Christchurch tragedy on March 15, 2019, which affected the last day of ASB Polyfest, has been a real test for everyone involved, but we have emerged more resilient, thankful, hopeful and excited about what 2021 signifies for our ASB Polyfest community.
The Manukau Sports Bowl will come back to life, with the colour and culture of the ASB Polyfest. This year’s festival will also be a revised format and layout to allow more space for stallholders to spread out, and social distancing for attendees. Students will not miss any performance time with the new format seeing the Niue Stage sharing with Diversity Stage, Tongan Stage share with the Cook Islands Stage, Samoan Stage share with the speech competitions, and Maori Stage hosting its three divisions over the festival’s four day duration.
For 2021, we have retained last year’s theme as it’s become more important than ever - it signifies how we celebrate our communities' healing through the strength of our cultures - our cultural beliefs, traditions and values. As a Polyfest family, we are connected through our healing and cultural strengths. We also celebrate our identity and diversity by honouring our heritage - our past, present and future. Together, we share in this journey and as we prepare to make new memories and create new experiences.
We want to thank ASB for their enduring commitment to the festival, as well as our strategic partners, government ministries, grant funders and in particular Foundation North, Auckland Council, and sponsors who have stuck with us despite the cancellations. We also thank our schools, stallholders and contractors for their patience and support and most of all, to our ASB Polyfest student performers who we can’t wait to see back on stage at this year’s event.
We can’t wait to see you this year and as we get ready to celebrate Polyfest's 45th anniversary.
Seiuli Terri Leo-Mauu
Director, ASB Polyfest
The ASB Polyfest features traditional music, dance, costume and cultural speech competitions, and is one of the most recognised events on the Auckland calendar. It’s a showcase of
New Zealand’s diverse cultures and a celebration of youth performance.
Students compete on five stages, performing traditional items from the following cultures – Cook Islands, Maori, Niue, Samoan and Tongan. There will also be a Diversity stage featuring performances from a range of cultural groups including Fijian, Tokelau, Chinese, Korean and Indian.
The four-day event (14-17 April 2021) will open with a flag raising ceremony conducted by Tainui Kaumatua, Stage Representatives, along with the Kura Matua Host Schools and the other Mana Kura Host Schools for each stage. This ceremony takes place at sunrise on the raised ground overlooking the Maori Stage.
This is followed by the Powhiri (official welcome), which has been the most significant part of the festival since its beginning in 1976. Traditionally, the process served to discover whether the visiting party was friend or foe. It is the formal welcoming of guests (manuhiri) by the hosts (Tainui and Pacific Community Leaders). The ceremony progresses with the tapu, or sacredness, surrounding manuhiri being removed, and all become one. Once the Powhiri concludes, the Mauri (the sacred pink stone - gifted by the people of Pare Hauraki - Ngati Marutuahu - Tainui Waka), is taken from the Powhiri to each stage to perform a blessing.
For some of the stages, this will also be the first day for performances and speeches.
THE ASB POLYEST FESTIVAL IS A ZERO WASTE AND DRUG AND ALCOHOL-FREE EVENT
AND IS PROUD TO BE