South Auckland’s hugely popular Polyfest event is not only the largest Pacific dance festival in the world, but it is also leading the way when it comes to encouraging attendees to make healthier food and beverage choices.
Manukau Ward councillor Fa’anana Efeso Collins is particularly supportive of organisers making a stand on this issue.
“Polyfest is all about celebrating the best in Pacific culture, so it’s great to see this council-sponsored event celebrating delicious traditional food and drink that is also healthy and nutritious, just like much of our food is back in the islands," he says.
Polyfest has been encouraging this approach for many years, and with the support of sponsors like Auckland Council and agencies like Healthy Families South Auckland, it has developed guidelines for stallholders that set a healthier standard without unreasonably restricting businesses.
Stallholders are prohibited from selling a range of deep-fried foods, candy floss and baked goods like meat pies, while water is promoted as the drink of choice – with stations dotted around the vast venue to keep audiences hydrated as they soak up the amazing talents of their peers.
"We can all be leaders when it comes to our health"
Collins is also the Strategic Leadership Group chair of Healthy Families South Auckland and he says it’s so important South Aucklanders take note of what event organisers are doing and make the necessary changes in their diets in all aspects of their lives.
“We can all be leaders in our communities when it comes to our health," Fa'anana Efeso Collins says.
"By working together, we can create a healthier community now and for future generations.
"And it all starts with making simple choices like choosing water over fizzy drinks for our whanau and aiga.”