Resort to host first Polyfest

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Organisers of Queenstown’s first ever Polyfest are blown away by the number of entries.

Thirty groups are set to perform in the Central Lakes Murihiku Polyfest over two days this week.

An Invercargill-based event’s been held for the past nine years.

Murihiku Maori and Pasifika Cultural Trust director Pauline Smith says a large contingent of performers usually travelled down from Central Otago, but the cost was problematic.

“Last year I was talking to some of the groups about the exorbitant costs of hiring buses, we’re talking thousands of dollars.”

That prompted talk of a Queenstown-based event, and “the idea kind of grew”.

The number of entrants is double what they expected, she says.

She says cultural performances are something that “brings a school together” and gives a sense of identity.

“Whole schools are writing their own hakas for special occasions now.”

Polyfest will take place Wednesday and Thursday at the Queenstown Memorial Centre.

daisy.hudson@scene.co.nz