14 Mar 2014

Storm 'threatening' Polyfest future

8:16 pm on 14 March 2014

Organisers of Auckland's Polyfest say the continued existence of the annual cultural competition for schools is under threat if finals day is cancelled because of Cyclone Lusi.

The tropical storm was expected to hit the North Island from Friday evening. Nearly 10,000 performers from 62 schools are taking part in this year's festival, which started on Wednesday.

Students from Avondale College perform at the festival.

Students from Avondale College perform at the festival. Photo: SUPPLIED

Polyfest chairman Steve Bovaird said the trust that runs the festival won't be able to cover the losses if they have to call off Saturday's competition because of bad weather.

Mr Bovaird said the final day provides the biggest gate takings of an estimated $100,000 and losing that would be a significant blow, given they've only budgeted for a profit of $10,000.

The Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, said his officials will talk to the organisers about what kind of help they need.

Organisers will decide at 7am whether to cancel the last day of competition or perhaps shift it to other indoor venues.

Ban on sugary drinks

The festival is moving to ban sales of sugary drinks during the event with the aim of combatting diabetes and obesity. Food stalls around the Maori stage have been told they can sell only sugar-free or diet drinks.

Festival director Theresa Howard says the ban will extend to all the Pasifika stages and all food vendors in 2015. She says it's an extension of Polyfest's policy of promoting healthy food and drinks.

Ms Howard says most of the stallholders at the Maori and Pasifika stages think moving to sugar-free drinks is a good idea and overdue.