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Now in its 26th year, the festival showcases performances by thousands of tamariki and rangatahi from around Otago. The performances include kapa haka and Pasifika cultural pieces.
Thousands thronged the arena yesterday evening to hear dignitaries, including Otakou kaumatua Edward Ellison and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, welcome attendees.
Mr Cull spoke of the importance of everyone attempting to learn some te reo and made special mention of Pasifika people in Otago, who he said were an important part of "our warm and diverse social tartan''.
A performance by King's and Queen's High Schools kapa haka group He Waka Kotuia rounded out proceedings.
The festival will run through the week. The final session and closing ceremony will be on Friday.