Live performances at Mīharo Polyfest draw crowds

Organisers have overcome the Covid-19 pandemic to stage the 11th year of the Mīharo Polyfest, formally known as Murihiku Polyfest.

Miharo Polyfest, formally known as Murihiku Polyfest

Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

Southland’s annual celebration of Pasifika and te ao Māori was in doubt after Covid-19 hit the country.

Normally held in August, the polyfest was cancelled with plans to move the event entirely online.

But after the latest Covid restrictions lifted, organisers got to work and planned a two-day online event followed by today’s live performances in Invercargill.

Miharo Polyfest, formally known as Murihiku Polyfest

Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

Organiser Tania Carran said it was not the biggest event they had ever staged – after 40,000 people came through the doors during last year’s six-day event – but it was satisfying to put on a live show.

“Today was about our high school students and some community groups. For our high school students, year 13s, in particular, this is their last time at polyfest so we wanted to provide a platform for them,” she said.

Miharo Polyfest, formally known as Murihiku Polyfest

Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

South Otago High School student Aroha Stapleforth appreciated the gesture.

“It’s [kapa haka] been my pillar for the past three years. It’s been what I’ve always looked forward to. When I come back to school I’m always like ‘when’s kapa haka practice?’. So it’s been the highlight of my high school years,” she said.

The group was one of 10 to perform today.

Cook Islander Teina Marie said it had been heartening to see the south embrace diversity and other cultures during the 11 years of polyfest.

“We are not here to keep our culture to ourselves but to share it with the community, and it’s grown over the years – last year was just amazing.”

Organisers hoped for a return to more normalcy next year and were confident of another big show.

Miharo Polyfest, formally known as Murihiku Polyfest

Photo: RNZ / Tim Brown

Published at Fri, 06 Nov 2020 06:29:49 +0000
Source: Live performances at Mīharo Polyfest draw crowds