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Ed Sheeran

Polyfest a celebration of tangata whenua, tangata moana

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Polyfest starts tomorrow, and Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson says after two year’s of disruption the kids are raring to get on stage to celebrate their various cultures.

Last year the Auckland secondary schools cultural competition couldn’t go on because of the Covid-19 lockdown, and the previous year it was cut short because of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Ms Davidson has a son performing as part of his school’s Niuean group - even though he has no Niuean whakapapa - which she says is an indication of the spirit the festival encourages.

"Our kids so effortlessly understand the beauty of learning about our Pacific Island whanaunga and they are our close relations and they are a part of the walking way our Māori communities as tangata whenua are reconnecting ourselves with our tangata moana relations and that is a whakapapa connection I think we can do a lot more strengthening in and it is our kids who are leading the way," she says.

The four-day Polyfest starts with a dawn flag raising tomorrow at Manukau Sports Bowl, followed by a pōwhiri at 8am including a mass haka from this year’s kura matua hosts - Kia Aroha College and James Cook High School.

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