It is the first time for any cultural team or college from the Cook Islands to be invited to perform at the annual event.
Forty senior students from Tereora and a support crew will travel into Auckland to be a part of the 43rd year of ASB Polyfest.
This year’s vision for the cultural event is to reflect the core aspects of Polyfest, have more competing schools than before, and to have passionate and proud cultural performances fully appreciated by large crowds in a supportive environment.
Principal Tania Morgan said she is looking forward to the opportunity for the students to showcase their culture and talent internationally.
“Once we started putting ourselves out there, with our 1st XV team who went to Hawaii and our media studies team that went to Wellington, we knew we would attract more opportunities,” she said.
The national college continues to focus on their mission statement, “excellence in citizenship” and Morgan says this includes progressing in the schools sporting, cultural and academics.
“Our sports will continue to have more opportunities to play teams from overseas this year and the schools’ academics remains steady and this year students get to present their culture internationally,” she said.
The ASB Polyfest features traditional music, dance, costume and speech and is now recognised as an important showcase of New Zealand’s diverse cultures and a celebration of youth performance.
Tereora College cultural team will perform traditional items along with Maori, Niue, Samoan and Tongan cultures.
There will also be a diversity stage featuring performances from a range of cultural groups including Fijian, Tokelau, Chinese, Korean and Indian.
Morgan says she is confident in the school’s cultural team because they have the Cook Islands culture imbedded in them.
A personal contribution is expected from each student travelling and Morgan says the school will only hold two fundraisers.
“We know that the local community did so much for us last year with our rugby team that went to Hawaii, so we have tried to keep it to a minimum this year,” she said.
A run round Rarotonga will be held on Saturday February 24 and an evening performance of the cultural dance that the team will perform at Polyfest will also be held at the National Auditorium on Thursday March 1.
All funds raised from these two events will go towards the team’s travelling expenses.
Polyfest will begin on Wednesday March 14 to Saturday March 17.
Tereora College are scheduled to perform on Friday and Saturday of the event.
The team will arrive in Auckland a few days earlier to prepare.
Morgan said the culture team will be doing additional shows in Auckland as fundraisers. “The Cook Islands community in New Zealand will be wanting to see what we can do and it will be nice to give back to the community because I know they will be hosting us there,” she said.
The cultural team are excited to embrace and enjoy the spirit of the occasion and are looking forward to represent the Cook Islands with pride.