Auckland prepares for Polyfest -

February 28, 2010 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News reports a major festival of Maori and Pacific Island culture is set to take place in Auckland next month.

Running from Wednesday March 17th to Saturday March 20th at the Manukau Sports Bowl, Polyfest celebrates the heritage of Pacific Island communities through music, dance, speech and art.

With a record 90,000 people attending in 2009, people using accommodation in Auckland can expect the event to be just as popular this year, which marks the 35th anniversary of the festival.

Polyfest is organised by Auckland Secondary Schools and is now sponsored by the ASB bank.

The entertainment is spread across five main stages, each representing an island community - Maori, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoan and Tongan.

After the Powhiri, or official welcome, gets the event underway at 09:00 local time on March 17th, festival goers are free to enjoy themselves by exploring the various stages.

A sixth platform, known as the Diversity Stage, provides a performing space for Auckland's other ethnic groups, such as Indian and Chinese people.

The host school for this year's Polyfest is Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, which also performed that function for the first ever festival in 1976.

Located in the Manukau suburb of Otara, the school was founded by New Zealand mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary.