Poly Odyssey1

Our vision: Lower Hutt – NZ’s healthiest people

Poly Odyssey – An unforgettable Pasifika experience

From 2-5 July 2018 Walter Nash Stadium will host Poly Odyssey for the first time. Poly Odyssey is a Pasifika health, education and arts day programme for school students that will run alongside Polyfestival Hutt Valley, the largest annual Pasifika event in the Hutt Valley.

Polyfest and Poly Odyssey was the vision of Luana Leulua’i, an inspiring teacher from Koraunui School who with the backing of former Principal Barbara Hays has driven the success of Polyfest over the years. Luana’s aspiration was for Polyfest to expand to provide a Pasifika experience at Walter Nash during the day. The event aims to engage the students while at Walter Nash Stadium for their Polyfest practice. Luana sadly passed away earlier this year. The 2018 Polyfest and Poly Odyssey are dedicated to her memory.

Te Awakairangi Health Network has taken the lead on Poly Odyssey with support from Pasifika community leaders, Healthy Families Lower Hutt and Koraunui School. Ana So’otaga, of Te Awakairangi Health Network says, “We are weaving preventative health messages through traditional Pasifika customs, arts and storytelling”.

The theme of Poly Odyssey this year is, Ko tatou e tahi i te moana Pahewhika, We are all one in the Pacific Ocean.

The students will travel through the displays and experience authentic pasifika practices and customs. We have designed this experience to bring increased wellbeing to the students through the following ways: mawhuta/connect, talk and listen; gaioi/be active; foaki/give knowledge, time, presence; tokanga/take notice and reflect; and ako/keep learning.

Highlights of Poly Odyssey will include:

  • Vaka Atafaga, a spectacular vaka on loan from Atafu Tokelau Community Group Incorporated Society
  • 13 metre long turtle labyrinth that the students will use to practice mindfulness
  • Village stations teaching traditional practices and customs from our Pasifika and Māori communities including Tokelau, Tonga, Samoa and Cook Islands.
  • Pasifika and Māori concepts of the value of water as the drink of choice with ‘Vai Time’ and ‘Wai Māori’ water stations.

“We want this to be an unforgettable, rich and healthy Pasifika experience for our young people. We chose a turtle for the Poly Odyssey logo as representation of the children journeying through the rich ocean of Pasifika picking up knowledge and wellbeing along the way,” says Ana So’otaga.

Imagine if all our community events promoted water as the drink of choice.