7000 performers due at Polyfest 2017

Polyfest organisers, from left, Tania Carran, Pauline Smith and Mandy Smith gear up for the six-day event at Stadium ...
Robyn Edie

Polyfest organisers, from left, Tania Carran, Pauline Smith and Mandy Smith gear up for the six-day event at Stadium Southland from Monday to Saturday.

The Polyfest event in Invercargill this week is costing $150,000 to put on, with more than 7000 performers from 130 school and community groups due to strut their stuff at Stadium Southland over the next six days.

Polyfest features early childhood, primary school, secondary school and community groups who perform cultural song and dance routines on stage in front of thousands of spectators during the week.

This year, there will be 130 performing groups from Southland, Central Otago, South Otago and for the first time, Halfmoon Bay School on Stewart Island. 

The event, which Polyfest trust co-ordinator Tania Carran said was costing about $150,000 to host, has grown in size and cost over the years, with two people now hired fulltime to organise it.

The entire Stadium Southland, including the velodrome, will be hired by Murihiku Maori and Pasifika Cultural Trust organisers for the duration of the event, from Monday to Saturday.

With the funding squeeze on to host the annual cultural extravaganza, organisers have made the call to charge the public for tickets on Thursday night, in what will be a signature evening of performance by secondary schools.

However, the viewing public would only be asked for gold coin donations during the remainder of the week's performances.

Carran said community funders and sponsors had been generous but the event was struggling to break even, hence the ticket sales for Thursday night's session. 

The tickets were $10 for adults, $30 for a family of 2 adults and four kids, $5 for under 12s and free for under 3s.

Last year, about 30,000 people watched the Polyfest groups in action and contributed about $20,000 in gold coins.

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"We aren't surviving too well on the gold coins," Carran said.

More than 120 volunteers will help run the event during the week, with the opening ceremony at 9.30am on Monday and performances each day until Saturday.

Polyfest Trust co-ordinator Mandy Smith said Polyfest was a beautiful buzz of energy and participation.

The schools put in a huge amount of effort to participate in an event which brought culture to the south for everyone to enjoy, she said. 

 

 

 

 - The Southland Times

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