Sunday practice on school's agenda

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 01/08/2014
Fernworth School
NICOLE JOHNSTONE/FAIRFAX NZ
STEP INTO CULTURE: Fernworth School pupils, from left, Jazlyn Fulton, 9, Isabella McNaughton, 5, and Amylee Simpson Williams (not pictured), 8, check over the school’s jandal designs ahead of next month’s Polyfest.

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School on a Sunday?

It might sound like a tough sell, but Fernworth School performers are prepared to put in weekend work ahead of the Murihiku Polyfest.

Teacher Shari Frengley said the school's kapa haka and Pasifika performance groups were excited about the event, and were even about to start Sunday practices to perfect their acts.

"They're really pumped for it. Our kids get really proud of each other."

The school has also crafted two giant jandals for the Polyfest art exhibition, which this year is centred around the step into culture theme.

A learning group created a green jandal covered in flowers, each petal describing something important to pupils, while parents and children had worked together on a community jandal.

Frengley believed it was the first time the school had entered the exhibition.

Families had shared parts of their heritage for the project, contributing everything from hand-drawn landscapes of the Czech Republic to a Scottish family crest to Maori designs, she said.

"It's an opportunity for the kids to think about what's important for them, apart from their iPads and those kind of materialistic things."

With less than a month to go, Fernworth is one of many Southland schools amping up their efforts for the event.

Polyfest co-ordinator Pauline Smith said she was amazed at the way the step into culture theme had been embraced by the community.

Jandals constructed from food and farm objects were just some of the innovative ways it had been interpreted, she said.

About 85 schools and centres had entered the cultural festival, to be held at Stadium Southland. The festival runs from August 26 to August 29, with the art exhibition opening on August 15.

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