Performing at event runs in the family

St Peter Chanel School teacher Pesamino Tili  is delighted four of his five children are now...
St Peter Chanel School teacher Pesamino Tili is delighted four of his five children are now performing in Polyfest. They are (back, from left) Isaac Ioane (12), Therese Sanele (10) and Anamalia (7), and (front) Tomasi (4) and Grace Lesina (2). Photo: Gregor Richardson
One of the original Polyfest performers from 1993 says it is "tear-jerking sometimes" to now see his children involved.

St Peter Chanel School director of religious studies Pesamino Tili, who took to the stage at the first event as a high school pupil,  has been getting children at the school ready for Polyfest, among them his own daughters Therese Sanele Tili (10) and Anamalia Tili (7). Their older brother Isaac Ioane Tili (12) will be on stage with Kavanagh College at Polyfest and their younger sibling Tomasi Tili (4) will be performing with other pupils from Green Island Kindergarten. His youngest daughter Grace Lesina Tili (2) was the only one not performing.

"They’ve been immersed in [performing arts] since they were very young," Mr Tili said.

When Mr Tili was growing up, he said there were not many Pacific performing groups in Dunedin, apart from church-based groups. But now there was more acceptance of "things Pacific" and more openmindedness when it came to different cultures in Dunedin.

"You can see they’ve kind of been interwoven in different schools."

Polyfest performers took to the stage with a "real sense of pride", he said.

"Every year this festival just gets bigger and bigger."  

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