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Polyfest packs in the performers

Six hundred performers sang and danced their way through the Wellington Intermediate Schools Polyfest.
Six hundred performers and hundreds more spectators packed out Masterton’s Trust House Stadium on Friday for one of the largest events Masterton Intermediate had ever put on.
Masterton Intermediate School [MIS] hosted 11 other schools from the Wellington region to celebrate the diverse cultures of Pasifika nations.
MIS principal Russell Thompson said he was thrilled to finally host the event after two years of covid cancellations.
“The beauty of this is that it’s not a competition; it’s all about coming together.
“If a school performed a song that people in the audience knew, they would join in the singing.
“It’s a real celebration; it’s just awesome,” Thompson said.
Ninety students from MIS performed a haka to open the festival.
Other schools joined in from the grandstand, applauding and waving flags from the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Kiribati, and more.
Masterton’s Georgina Lologa was the MC, stirring up huge responses from the crowd with her charismatic announcing style.
Each school’s set involved diverse songs, dances, and other cultural performances from cultures across the Pacific.
Spontaneous songs erupted from the grandstands between sets, adding atmosphere to the occasion.
Under usual circumstances, Intermediate Polyfest would be held at a school hall, but Thompson and deputy principal Olivia Geange wanted to scale it up for MIS’s first time hosting the event.
At Trust House Stadium, schools could bring as many performers as they wanted, resulting in Polyfest 2022 being one of the largest-scale events MIS has ever hosted.
Judy Dreadon, the MIS cooking teacher, led a team of 10 cooks, making a feast for one thousand people.
Parents, families, and numerous local businesses donated food and supplies.
The feast included island classics chop suey, and Cook Island potato salad, as well as butter chicken, barbeque, home baking, and sweets.
Past, present, and future MIS caretakers Mike Clarke, Dallas Wilson, and Sam Eades barbequed 1000 sausages from Solway Butchery for the occasion.
Present caretaker Dallas Wilson said work days like this were “an awesome part of the job.”
The Warehouse donated plates and cutlery, New World gave water bottles, Pak’n’Save donated fruit, and Breadcraft gave rolls to add to the magnificent feast.
Lucan Mapusua and Julie Wilson, two 12-year-old Samoan students from MIS, said they were excited to perform in their first-ever Polyfest.
It was announced at the closing that Levin Intermediate would host next year’s Polyfest.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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