Press Release – ASB Polyfest
The 38th ASB Polyfest gets underway this week with the colour, cultures and costumes that have made the festival one of the country’s most enduring and iconic events.
At the recent launch of this year’s festival, Auckland Mayor Len Brown described the ASB Polyfest as – “arguably Auckland’s most iconic event. It is an event that celebrates our Polynesian heart, and puts it out there to the world. The ASB Polyfest gives our city’s youth greater knowledge and understanding of who they are, and where they come from. And most importantly – it builds the self-esteem of our youth.”
This year’s event will have the Manukau Sports Bowl reverberating with traditional song and dance from Auckland’s diverse cultures, on the six stages.
While the cacophony and colour will be back at the ASB Polyfest, something different will be a new Event Director at the helm of this year’s festival.
Theresa Howard has stepped into the role this year with her personal experience on stage at an ASB Polyfest influencing her decision to step into the festival’s Event Director role.
From the start of her high school career, Howard harboured a desire to be part of the festival after watching performances on the ASB Polyfest television programme, reading newspaper articles on the event, and hearing radio station promotions.
She joined the St Dominics College Samoan group for the 2001 festival and thrived on the experience. In Howard’s words – “at the end of that experience I walked away a more confident, committed and approachable young lady. At 17, half Maori and half Samoan, I was proud of who I was, and who I had become. Through being involved in our school’s Samoan group, I learnt about leadership, being humble and understood what my own culture is about.”
Howard added – “I also wondered why I had missed out on years of bruised knees, high and tight hair buns, live-ins and leadership roles by not joining the group earlier”.
In describing the festival, Theresa Howard said – “the ASB Polyfest is a positive avenue for families to get involved in the interests of their young ones. It allows young people to be creative through speech, song and dance in their own interpretation of tradition and culture. Taking part on stage demonstrates true pride, a sense of belonging and belief.”
Howard went on to say – “This event isn’t just about what an amazing showcase of speech and performances we see on each stage. It promotes cultural awareness and understanding, and serves to bring people together within our wider community, our schools and even within our own homes.”
This year’s festival will bring over 9000 students onto one of six stages during the festival’s four-day duration. They are part of 200 performing groups from 59 schools taking part in the 2013 ASB Polyfest, which gets underway this Wednesday at the Manukau Sports Bowl.