The world's largest Pacific dance festival kicks off in Auckland today after two years of disruptions.
Covid-19 caused the cancellation of Polyfest last year, while the year before it was cut short by the Christchurch terror attacks.
Hundreds gathered this morning at the Manukau sports bowl, the ground which will host the event for next few days of competition. The official part of Polyfest began with prayer, a flag raising ceremony and then a Powhiri.
The Auckland schools' Māori and Pasifika dance festival Polyfest will light up the Manukau Sports Bowl from today with music, song, dance and speeches from across Te Moana Nui a Kiwa.
Students from Kia Aroha College & Puutake Te Wahanga Māori (James Cook High) with waiata ‘Wairua Tapu’ during the pōwhiri at Polyfest 2021 this morning. pic.twitter.com/egtEd6DR8H— RNZ Te Ao Māori (@RNZTeAoMaori) April 13, 2021
Last year's pandemic-appropriate theme of "Healing the body, mind, spirit and soul with the strength of culture" continues.
This year will see a revised format to allow for more space and social distancing.
On its 45th anniversary the festival this year has one less stage, but students will not miss any performance time with a revised format.
Polyfest culminates in its biggest day on Saturday.
Southern Cross Campus Tongan students still in high spirits despite a downpour of rain to kick off Polyfest 2021.— RNZ Pacific (@RNZPacific) April 13, 2021
They’re huddled under shelter singing Tongan Himi 114. pic.twitter.com/boJz8EiKdK