ASB Polyfest 2016 Underway

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Auckland’s diverse cultural make-up will be displayed on stage today at the 2016 ASB Polyfest, when performances on the ACG Diversity Stage get underway at 9:30am.

The ACG Diversity Stage has enjoyed huge growth in recent years, celebrating ethnicities which have sit outside the festival’s traditional Maori, Cook Islands, Niuean, Tongan andSamoan performance categories.

A record 75 groups will hit the diversity stage over the next two days, representing 23 different cultures.  With 22 groups set to perform on stage, Indian is the most popular cultural group to take to the diversity stage, followed by Fijian performances with seven groups,Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Filipincultures will be represented with five groups each, and four African groups will also take part.

Other groups appearing on the ACG Diversity Stage today include Mongolian, Tibetana group from Myanmar and Chinese Lion Dance groups.

Stage co-ordinators Sarah Woods & Ranee Prasad say that – “the huge growth in the ACGDiversity Stage represents the changing cultural face of Auckland.  The stage accepts all cultural groups that fall outside the Maori and Pacific Island stages, giving a wide range of cultures the opportunity to showcase who they are and where they come from at the ASB Polyfest.”

The ACG Diversity Stage is a recent addition to the ASB Polyfest. 2015 saw the stage judged, officially, for the first time, with the Tibetan group from St Cuthberts College taking out first place.

Today also sees kapa haka performances on the Te Whare Wanaga o Awanuiarangi Maori Stage.  Performances get underway from 9:30am – 3:30pm today with 1kapa haka groups in the Division 3 competition.

The AUT Cook Islands Stage, MIT Niue Stage, University of Auckland Samoan Stag andMassey University Tongan Stage will host speech competitions today.  Students will speak in their native languages in the “Fight the Fever” speech competition; the topic based around the prevention of Rheumatic Fever. 

A further highlight of the ASB Polyfest today is the primary and intermediate schools programme which sees 420 students from Belmont Intermediate, Everglade Primary andWeymouth Primary have their own ASB Polyfest experience from 10am – 1pm.  The three chosen schools are each sending 140 students for a special festival experience.

“ASB began its sponsorship of Polyfest 32 years ago and we’re thrilled to remain a big part of the festival today. As one of our longest and most-treasured partnerships, we are continually proud to be associated ASB Polyfest,” ASB Head of Community and Sponsorship Mark Graham says.

ASB Polyfest 2016 takes place at the ASB Sports Bowl from Wednesday 16 March to Saturday, 19 March.  Entry is $5, with pre-school children free of charge.

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