Papatoetoe High School students among many celebrating Polyfest's return after two years of disruption

After two years of disruption, the largest Māori and Pasifika festival in the world is getting underway in Auckland today. 

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The event is marking its 45th year with a colourful display of culture. Source: 1 NEWS

Hundreds gathered today at the Manukau Sports Bowl to officially begin Polyfest with a prayer, flag-raising ceremony and a pōwhiri. 

In 2019, the final day of the festival was cancelled following the Christchurch terrorist attack. Last year saw the event called off altogether because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Among those looking forward to the festival are Papatoetoe High School students, who have gone through more than most after being at the epicentre of a Covid-19 cluster in February. 

Breakfast joined the school’s head girl, Rhonda Nguyen, on the diversity stage this morning, where she showed off her skills in vũ phiến, a traditional Vietnamese fan dance. 

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Auckland's Polyfest back this year after two years of disruption

Nguyen was thrust into the public’s eye in February. Only a few days into her role as head girl, she was already providing a reassuring voice to her South Auckland community uncertain about Covid-19. 

“It’s really good to see everybody can come back together and celebrate culture again,” she said today.