Growing up on Auckland’s North Shore, New Zealand-born Samoan Peteli Setu says he has become used to being part of a minority group.
However, participating in the annual ASB Polyfest offers the Year 13 Rosmini College student something else – to be part of a bigger group, which feels awesome, he says.
Peteli first learned about ASB Polyfest as a youngster, when he would watch his older cousins perform, representing their respective secondary schools.
“The first time I was performed was in 2018 - I was Year 11 and that year I performed on the Tongan stage representing Rosmini College,” he shares.
“It was the school’s very first year to take part in Polyfest, and we combined forces with our sister school Carmel College.”
Performing at Polyfest is a way to connect to his cultural identity, ancestry and roots, he adds.
“Whenever I perform, particularly the Samoan Stage, I feel connected to my loved ones who have departed from this world, my ancestors.
“Being involved in Polyfest means I represent my school, but also represent who I am, where I come from and my family roots.”
Peteli also enjoys seeing so many Pacific cultures coming together and sharing what is unique to their island nations.
Last year, Rosmini College and Carmel College entered a Samoan group for the first time.
At this year’s ASB Polyfest in March, Peteli will help lead the Samoan group as they try to improve on their 2019 performance and achieve a podium place.
Excitement is growing as Polyfest gets closer, and Peteli is keen to show off the hard work his group has invested into the event, and to acknowledge the efforts and resources parents, tutors and teachers have poured into the group.
“I’m also looking forward to seeing other schools perform and although it may be a competition, I look forward to supporting them as we all come together as one in spirit.”
The ASB Polyfest will celebrate its 45th Anniversary in 2020, at Manukau Sports Bowl, Te Irirangi Drive, Auckland, from March 18-21.