Polyfest–Polysuccess: Collaborative critical autoethnographic reflections of Pacific cultural festivals and the success of Pacific students in Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Natalie Faitala
  • Sinapi Taeao
  • Maria Lemalie
Keywords: Polyfest, collaborative critical autoethnography (CCAE), cultural transmission, identity consolidation, music, dance, performance, leadership


This paper connects the collaborative critical autoethnographic (CCAE) reflections of three authors who story and examine their own personal experiences of being part of the organising bodies for secondary school Polyfests across Aotearoa, New Zealand: the ASB Polyfest in Auckland, HuttFest in Lower Hutt and the Canterbury Polyfest in Christchurch. We contend, the Polyfest experience provides a platform for Pacific students to develop and share cultural expertise, exhibit pride in their cultural identities and cultivate leadership skills. As critical spaces and sites of cultural knowledge generation and sharing, communication, and innovation, the three aforementioned polyfests highlight the vibrant nature of Pacific flourishing in Aotearoa New Zealand, which can strengthen educators’ and schools’ appreciation of what matters and is deemed as success in the eyes and stories of Pacific/Pasifika people themselves. When used by teachers and schools for active education, Polyfest as a critical entity and site can provide a lever that encourages Pacific students to engage positively with school and experience improved academic success.


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How to Cite
Faitala, N., Taeao, S., & Lemalie, M. (2022). Polyfest–Polysuccess: Collaborative critical autoethnographic reflections of Pacific cultural festivals and the success of Pacific students in Aotearoa New Zealand. Ethnographic Edge, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.24135/ethnographic-edge.v5i2.261