Moving Otago Polyfest online 'a good decision'

All together now . . . Children from Punavai Ole Atamai Preschool perform during the last day of...
All together now . . . Children from Punavai Ole Atamai Preschool perform during the last day of Otago Polyfest in 2019. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Otago Polyfest is back for another year, albeit in a different way. 
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the festival will move online and all performances will be livestreamed on social media from Monday. 
Festival director Tanya Muagututi’a said it was a difficult decision to make and organisers looked at a range of possibilities. 
‘‘I think with the support of the schools and the community it was a good decision,’’ she said. 
Feedback from the community indicated people were just happy it was going to be held, especially as it had to be cancelled last year, Ms Muagututi’a said. 
Some schools were unable to participate this year but had given their blessing. 
It was sad but understandable, as restrictions meant it was hard for some schools to rehearse with all their pupils. 
‘‘They’re disappointed that they can’t [perform] but they’re so supportive. 
‘‘We’ll miss them too.’’ 
The festival would adhere to the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines, and largely operate under a one-way traffic system at the Edgar Centre to ensure it was safe as possible. 
‘‘It’s about looking after everybody when they come into our space, from the moment they drive in.’’ 
Now in its 28th year, Otago Polyfest is one of the oldest Pasifika festivals in the country. 
The celebration was important for the region and allowed schools to celebrate their uniqueness, Ms Muagututi’a said.

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