Celebrating Pacifica in Bay

Around 80 students make up the Poly Club group at Tahatai Coast School. Photo: Nikki South.

Young students from around the Bay of Plenty will come together at Tahatai School next Wednesday, in a showcase of all things Pacifica.

Pasifika in the Bay, which is in its third year, is a festival devoted to celebrating diverse Pasifika nations in the Bay of Plenty.

Taumuri Utikere, 11, from Tahatai Coast School, is one of many students who will be taking part in this year’s festival.

He says it is the second year he will be participating in the festival, since joining his schools’ Poly Club last year.

“I encouraged myself to join Poly Club,” says Taumuri. “I love it - it’s fun and it’s good exercise for me. I work out every morning.

“We get the chance to meet new friends, all come together and be taught by awesome teachers.

“We do dances, sasa and different exercises.”

Around 80 students make up the Poly Club group at Tahatai Coast School, and Taumuri says he is proud to return to the stage with them at this years’ event.

“All of my friends and me are having fun and we are all excited. I have hopes that we’ll do really well.

“It’s all about trying your best, and being strong at doing it.”

Poly Club teacher and event organiser Mike Douglas says the event gives the community a glimpse into the diversity of Polynesian cultures.

“The showcase our children take to the stage is a mixture of performances from different Pacifica areas.

“We always try and include a comedy piece in the boys’ performances,” says Mike. “There’s a mixture of songs in contemporary English and in contemporary Pacifica.

“This year we are taking four to five items to showcase at the event.”

Taumuri says he enjoys the songs he has been practicing but can’t pick a favourite.

“Even when I’m sick, I train, I still encourage myself to do it so I don’t forget any of the moves.

“I even train at home from my computer. I watch videos of myself and copy the moves.”

Taumuri says he is expecting his mum, dad and extended family to come out to the show to support him and his younger sister, who is also in the show.

The event attracts more than 17 schools from around the Bay and is open to the community. It is being held October 25, with a postponement date on Friday, October 27.