Powhiri and Pineapples at the 2013 ASB Polyfest

The 38th staging of the iconic Auckland event – the ASB Polyfest starts today at the Manukau Sports Bowl with special powhiri.

The festival powhiri starts at 9am where the festival guests (manuhiri) are welcomed by the hosts (Tainui & Pacific Island leaders).

Following this official part of the day, the four day festival came alive with Maori & Pacific Island colour and culture. 59 schools are taking part in this year’s festival, with 200 performing groups from these schools and over 9000 students.

First up on the Hapai Te Hauora Maori Stage today is Hato Petera College at 12noon, followed by Mangere College at 12:30pm.

The other stage in action today is the Diversity Stage. This stage has grown dramatically over the last couple of years with 55 groups performing over the next two days. There are 23 groups on stage today performing dances from variety of cultures including Indian, Malaysian, Korean, Thai, Chinese and Japanese. Two of the more diverse performances on stage today are the Epsom Girls Grammar Filipino Group at 2:23pm, and the Massey High School Tuvaluan group at 3pm.

While 9000 students prepare for their stage performances this week, another busy group is the Traill Family who are getting set to sell thousands of ice-cream filled pineapples.

Their “Hawaiian Pineapple Hut” has become famous at the festival, with between 7000 – 8000 of their pineapple delicacies set to be served up over the next four days. While there are 126 food & craft stalls for ASB Polyfest patrons to peruse and purchase from – arguably the most popular is the Traill family’s pineapples.

They bring in approximately 500 cartons of pineapples from the Phillipines for each festival, which provides 3500 – 4000 pineapples. These are then cut in half, filled with ice-cream and served up to appreciative ASB Polyfest patrons.

Two years ago, their queues were so long that neighbours complained about them being too busy. They have now expanded their “Hawaiian Pineapple Huts” to two locations at the festival, at the Cook Island and Maori Village.

The 2013 ASB Polyfest takes place at the ASB Sports Bowl from Wednesday, 13 March to Saturday, 16 March. Entry is $5 with pre-school children free of charge.

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