Equity Office celebrates Our Village, Our Kāinga at Polyfest 2015

08 April 2015

Polyfest 2015 (32)
Dr Kumea Shorter-Gooden (back row, third from right) and Dr Beth Douthirt-Cohen (back row, third from left) with University of Auckland staff at Polyfest 2015

Around 90,000 spectators flocked to Polyfest 2015 on 18 – 21 March, where the University of Auckland was proud to sponsor the Samoan Stage for the fourth year running. The four-day event is a youth celebration of New Zealand’s cultural diversity, and this year, our staff and student ambassadors stood out from the crowd in their new University-branded lavalavas.
“Our new lavalavas reflect the commitment and pride that the University takes in our Pacific communities,” says Pacific Equity Adviser, Fritz Evile.  
“We are proud that 40% of all Pacific graduates in New Zealand are from the University of Auckland, and that we are one of the Pacific’s leading research universities. We wanted to share the understanding that the University of Auckland is Our Village, Our Kāinga – a place where our Māori and Pacific communities feel at home.”
The theme of this year’s Polyfest was Enlightenment through Education, a focus that created an excellent opportunity to engage high school students, discuss their aspirations and promote the University’s wide range of services and supports. Polyfest was also a fantastic showcase of Auckland’s Māori and Pacific cultures, the likes of which amazed two international visitors at the event.
“We were privileged to host Dr Kumea Shorter-Gooden and Dr Beth Douthirt-Cohen, visiting practitioners from the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the University of Maryland,” says Jonaan McLeod, Kaitakawaenga Māori – Māori Liaison Officer. “They relished the opportunity to experience the cultural festivities on all six stages at Polyfest.”
As always, it was the people who made the event a success.
“Our student ambassadors are a diverse but unified team, and they did an exceptional job,” Jonaan said. “Our Village, Our Kāinga was in full force, clearly demonstrating the University’s commitment to celebrating our rich community of identities, diversities and successes.”