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Putting on a cultural event like the ASB Polyfest

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Polyfest lasts for several days and is packed with dance competitions, cultural performances, speeches and more that showcase the diverse cultures of the Pacific community.

Organising such a massive event is not an easy task, with thousands of participants and visitors to coordinate. Transportation, accommodation, stage setups, and volunteers all play a crucial role in making this event a success.

Let's take a closer look at what it takes to put on this incredible festival. First up, people need a large space to accommodate the stages, performers, and audience. That's why the festival is held at the Manukau Sports Bowl which is a large outdoor venue. Each performing group or individual needs to be ready to go on time and that the stage is set up correctly for them. This is where stage managers come in - they ensure that everything is in place and ready to go.

Image: Working scenes by Sviatlana Lazarenka.

Sound and lighting are crucial to the success of the festival. The sound team makes sure that the music is played at the right volume and that the performers can hear it properly. The lighting team sets up the appropriate lighting for each performance, making sure that everything looks and sounds amazing!

Crowd control is essential to the festival's safety and success. Volunteers and security staff ensure that the audience is kept safe and that the performers can perform without any disruptions.

Food and drink stalls are also an important part of the festival, providing refreshments for the performers and audience. Visitors can savour traditional dishes like taro, fish, and pork cooked in an underground oven called an umu. Yum! All of this food has to be prepared and brought into the festival.

Image: Ika Mata - Cook Islands - Raw Fish Salad by Snoopaya.

Portable toilets, first aid stations, and other amenities are also provided to ensure that the festival runs smoothly.

Finally, the festival needs to be promoted to attract audiences and participants. The organising team uses various media channels, such as social media, radio and print advertising to inform the public about the festival and its offerings.

The Pacific community provides leadership and organisation for the festival through the Auckland Secondary Schools' Maori and Pacific Islands Cultural Festival Trust. This group of individuals coordinates with schools and community groups to ensure the smooth running of the festival. They handle logistics, safety, provide mentorship and ensure the authenticity and respectfulness of the performances.

Image: A community mentor guiding students with their performance.

Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children's participation in the festival. They help their children practise their performances and prepare for the festival. They may provide transportation to rehearsals or help with costume and prop preparation. Families may also help cover the cost of costumes, props, and other expenses related to the festival. Often they help fundraise to cover costs.

The Auckland City Council and ASB Bank play a significant role in supporting Polyfest. The council provides financial assistance and resources, such as venue rental, waste management, and traffic control, to help with the smooth running of the festival. On the other hand, the ASB Bank is the primary sponsor of the festival, offering financial support and resources for promotion and marketing purposes.

In summary, the ASB Polyfest is an incredible celebration of Pacific culture that involves many people and logistics to make it happen. From the performers to the organisers and the audience, everyone plays an important role in making this festival a success.

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