More than 8000 students to perform at Polyfest

The Manukau Sports Bowl came alive on Wednesday morning as the ASB Polyfest kicked off for 2024.  

"Polyfest is a rite of passage," said festival director Seiuli Terri Leo-Mauu. "There's generations of families that have gone through the festival. Me included." 

Indian, Filipino and Fijian performances were among the first to take to the diversity stage on Wednesday. 

One student from Alfriston College told Newshub it was his first time performing.  

"I feel a bit more confident in my culture and myself. Especially performing in front of everyone," he said. 

More than 230 groups from 69 schools throughout Auckland are performing at the festival’s six stages - that's almost back to pre-COVID levels. 

"I think it'll be even closer to that or exceed it in 2025 when we celebrate 50 years," said Leo-Mauu.  

The late Green Party MP Efeso Collins was also remembered. Leo-Mauu said Polyfest had a special place in his heart.  

"I think Fes [Collins] would have been enjoying the keke pu'a and some ice cream and watermelon... as well as enjoying talking to the kids. 

"That was his main thing, just talking to the kids." 

It's not just performances on offer but plenty of kai among the more than 100 stall-holders. 

Herne Bay Ruaporo and his family run a Cook Islands food stall that has been at the festival for 25 years. 

"We've got mainese with orginal dressing done by my mum," he said. "We've got poke which is made out of banana and starch and we've got donuts." 

More than 75,000 people are expected to attend over the next four days and there's still lots more action to come.