While most teenagers are lapping up their school holiday with no commitments, close to 100 teens from schools around Auckland gathered today for the ASB Polyfest Leaders Day.

According to organiser Seiuli Terri Leo-Manu, the key focus is for all cultural leaders to come together in the hope to take away some new leadership skills to their respective cultural groups.

“I don't think we recognise this enough you know we honour our head boys, head girls and prefects; let’s honour our cultural leaders as well.”

The ASB Polyfest Leaders day is a new initiative welcomed to run leadership workshops and seminars for all cultural leaders

Te Hina Monga is the leader of his kapa haka group at Papatoetoe High School and he believes with these seminars and workshops can take his team up another level.

“This year we're in division three, my goal for this year in my roopū is to start them off strong. As it’s my last year and show them the way that I wish for the school to take. I want to show the young ones the right way to do things and I wish to set them up for their future at Papatoetoe High School.”

Tupou Manapori was one of the 'komiti whakahaere' who kick-started the Polyfest 43 years ago and she says times have changed.

“Before there were no stages, we just have to go to each school and do what we can but nowadays in comparison it’s huge.”

Nowadays the biggest festival of its kind in the world and Manapori is wrapped that the festival still continues.

“For me, I’m grateful that we still continuing this for our young generation to see the benefit of our reo, our culture, because that's who we are and that is who they are.”

There are almost 100 cultural leaders from Māori culture right across the Polynesian groups. Strengthening ties between them is also a key aspect of this event.

The hope is to continue this event in future years and furthermore the ASB Polyfest will kick off in the month of March.

LIKE