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Polyfest kicks off

Record number take part in festival

TAO LIN
Last updated 14:13 12/03/2014

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It's back and it's bigger than ever.

The world's largest Polynesian and Maori festival kicked off today at the Manukau Sports Bowl.

The 39th annual ASB Polyfest opened with a flag-raising ceremony and powhiri.

More than 9000 students from a record 62 schools from all over Auckland are taking to the stage at the festival, which runs until Saturday, before an expected audience of about 100,000.

That's a huge growth from the inaugural festival in 1976, when just four schools took part.

The festival was officially opened by kaumatua Eru Thompson and a performance by host school Western Springs College.

Mayor Len Brown says this year is ''historic'' for Polyfest with a record number of schools taking part.

''It gets bigger and better each year,'' he says.

''The Polynesian spirit is the heart and soul of this place.

"This year's theme is ''Care for our seas and our lands so that the safety of our home, both present and past, endures forever''.

The 2014 ASB Polyfest takes place from March 12 to 15 at the Manukau Sports Bowl, 1 Te Irirangi Drive. Entry is $5, preschool children free.Go to asbpolyfest.co.nz for more information.

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