Lively young energy at Polyfest

Portobello Kindergarten pupils take to the stage during Dunedin's 25th Polyfest at the Edgar...
Portobello Kindergarten pupils take to the stage during Dunedin's 25th Polyfest at the Edgar Centre. PHOTOS: GERARD O'BRIEN
Green Island Kindergarten pupils Aza'zel Theobald (4, left) and Te Paeru Vahua (3).
Green Island Kindergarten pupils Aza'zel Theobald (4, left) and Te Paeru Vahua (3).
Lakoda Ross (3) was among a group of performers from Corstorphine Kindergarten.
Lakoda Ross (3) was among a group of performers from Corstorphine Kindergarten.
Abbotsford Kindergarten pupil Bella Pulley (4) donned a cloak for the occasion.
Abbotsford Kindergarten pupil Bella Pulley (4) donned a cloak for the occasion.
Green Island Kindergarten pupil Ashton Fraser-Davie (4) got into the spirit of Polyfest.
Green Island Kindergarten pupil Ashton Fraser-Davie (4) got into the spirit of Polyfest.

The audience was warned yesterday morning before cohorts of kindergarten pupils took to the stage: expect random outbursts in different languages and be ready to catch children jumping off the stage.

However, the first full day of the 25th Otago Early Childhood and Schools Maori and Pacific Island Festival got off to a good start.

Children from Corstorphine Kindergarten, Abbotsford Kindergarten, Portobello Kindergarten, Green Island Kindergarten and Kiddies Campus Early Learning and Childcare Centre showed off their singing, poi and haka skills.

Polyfest officially opened on Monday night.

MC Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Otepoti teacher Marcia Cassidy warned the audience some children might not be comfortable on stage but she predicted they would warm up once they saw how appreciative the audience was.

Ms Cassidy was joined by some of the pupils from the kura, who took turns introducing the groups to the crowd of more than 100 parents and grandparents in the morning session.

Songs included some classics such as E Rere Taku Poi and each group had donned costumes for the occasion.

Event capability manager Anna Parker said throughout the course of the day about 2000 children were expected to take to the stage.

Polyfest co-chairwoman Angelina Kiore said the week had been "fantastic" so far and a fitting celebration of the polyfest's 25th birthday in the city.

It was great to see the preschoolers' performances increase in quality and diversity over the years, she said.

"Every group brings a challenge," Ms Kiore said.

"The challenge is probably more for the centres than it is for us."

Green Island Kindergarten were given a Samoan "song of thanks" - a "tau toko" - from St Peter Chanel School director of religious studies Pesamino Tili.

Mr Tili performed in the first polyfest, in 1993, and now had two children attending Green Island Kindergarten.

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