Kiribati group reap awards
Pukekohe High School's Kiribati group have come away with two awards at their first ever Polyfest last month.
The group performed on the Diversity Stage to an enthusiastic audience.
They were amazed to come away with a certificate in the Oceania category and the Auckland Airport Trophy.
The Auckland Airport trophy recognises the leadership of the group and their employable characteristics of reliability, teamwork and communication.
Kate Thompson, a representative from Ara (airport jobs and skills hub) will be coming to personally congratulate the students at the end of the term, and to share information with other interested students about job opportunities in and around the airport.
While the awards may have come as a surprise to the Kiribati group, it was recognition for their hard work.
Led by Margaret Eremee, a senior student at the high school, the group organised their own music, choreography, costumes and practices, meeting twice a day, during lunch and afterschool, for nearly a month to prepare for their performance.
She says she was proud to lead the group.
"It was an honour to get up on the stage and perform our dance," she says.  "I’m proud of my group for making a good effort, for working together and learning all the dance moves."
Teacher Athlyn Watt says the group blew the audience away. "They were fantastic," she says.
The students say they were happy to take part. "I felt proud to show my culture," says Tian Otia.
They hope that other cultural groups within the school will consider being involved in future Polyfests.
ASB Polyfest is the largest multicultural secondary schools festival in New Zealand.
Caption: The Kiribati group performing on the Diversity Stage at Polyfest. Photo credit: Chante Barnes