The Polyfest festival is the first of its kind to be held in Australia and will see schools compete at a state level in 2018, before competing at a national level in 2019. The winners of the national event will go on to represent Australia at the Fomuda World Cultural Championships in 2020, being held at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Hawai'i.
The Cook Islands were well represented at the event, with multiple Cook Islands groups performing at the launch. The groups were organised by Cook Islands advisers Doogie Akaiti and Kendara Browne.
Miss Cook Islands Alanna Smith co-hosted the event alongside the multi-lingual Suli Layt, who speaks seven languages. The pair will continue to host all Polyfest events in Australia as well as the world championships, being held in Hawaii. The competition officially launches at the Queensland Polyfest on June 29 at the Edmund Rice Performing Arts Centre.A number of schools will compete in the Cook Islands section.
Pasifika peoples in Australia account for less than one per cent of the nation’s total population. By contrast, NZ 2013 census statistics show that people of Pacific Island ancestry, not including New Zealand Maori, make up 6.9 per cent of the population.