Discover Canterbury: Canterbury Polyfest

After the success of the ASB Polyfest in Auckland, it was thought that Canterbury should also have a festival that would highlight different Pasifika cultures. After a one-off festival that was held in Hagley Park in 1996, the Canterbury Polyfest was inaugurated in 2000. The Spacifically Pacific Collective (SpacPac), which is a collaboration of multi-agencies, non-governmental groups and Pacific Service Providers who have common aspirations for Pasifika Students in the Canterbury region, was the driving force for the Canterbury Polyfest.

Performing at Polyfest '96, in North Hagley Park by Tai Mann. In copyright - Talanoa | Measina. CCL-DW-130331.

Canterbury Polyfest provides the opportunity for secondary school students from across the Canterbury region to celebrate and showcase their Pasifika traditions, languages and identities through song and dance in order to reflect the diverse Pasifika cultures residing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Due to its success and popularity, the Canterbury Polyfest is now the most recognized Pacific Festival in the South Island. The 2024 festival is on Saturday 16 March in Hagley Park.

Polyfest 2019 group by Nicole Bailey. In copyright - Talanoa | Measina. CCL-DW-128481

On the Canterbury Stories website, we are lucky to have numerous photographs of the Canterbury Polyfest, even the one off event that occurred in 1996.

Do you have any photographs of the Canterbury Polyfest over the years? You can contribute to our collection via the Discovery Wall website.


Canterbury Polyfest. 2024. About Canterbury Polyfest. [online]. Accessed 25th January 2024.

Mackley-Crump, Jared. 2015. The Pacific Festivals of Aotearoa New Zealand: Negotiating Place and Identity in a New Homeland. Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press.

Discover Canterbury

Discover Canterbury is a fortnightly blog post promoting beautiful, interesting, weird, & wonderful digital content from our Canterbury Stories and Discovery Wall collections.
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