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The vibrant hues of cultural diversity illuminated the Queenstown Events Centre on the 18th and 19th of October 2023, as the Central Lakes Polyfest unfolded, uniting approximately 1,300 tamariki and rangatahi from Central Lakes and Central Otago. Hosted by Mīharo, two-day celebration showcased the rich cultural heritage of our region and highlighted the power of unity and understanding within our community.

Mīharo held the first Central Otago Polyfest in 2018 and it has been growing ever since. This year, the event also welcomed a local Tongan community group, adding a new dimension to the festivities and enhancing the Polyfest's cultural mosaic.

A notable highlight of the Polyfest was the initiation of the Whakamanahia te Rangatahi-youth mentoring programme. Through this programme, youth from the Whakamanahia te Rangatahi (WTR) team engaged with students from Mt Aspiring College, promoting leadership skills and cultural pride.

“Next year we have high hopes that the new Central Lakes youth mentoring cohort will be able to lead the way in the volunteer space, get to have real life work experiences and embrace a kaupapa filled with art, culture and performances,” says Hiria Palmer, Mīharo Business & Finance Manager.

The Polyfest was more than just a series of cultural performances - it embodied the essence of community spirit. Volunteers, participants, and spectators joined hands to create an inclusive environment where manaakitanga and kotahitanga prevailed. The event served as a platform for building connections and enriching the cultural fabric of Central Lakes and Central Otago.

CLT is proud to have supported the success of the Polyfest through the granting of $25,000 towards sound and lighting costs.


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