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13TH ANNUAL TE MAHANA HIROA O TAHITI WINNERS CROWNED AT PCC

Keiki performances are some of the most popular at the Polynesian Cultural Center competitions. [photo: PCC]

LAIE, HawaiiThe spirit of Tahiti shined bright at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s (PCC) 13th Annual Te Mahana Hiroa O Tahiti Festival, which concluded Friday evening. The event featured a solo competition and a special invitational division where dancers, including tamarii (children) as young as one and taurearea (adults), showcased their skilled movements and spectacular costuming.
 
Set in the picturesque Tahitian Village, the festival opened with an exhibition of tamarii between the ages of one and three, followed by the solo competition, which included 31 competitors from across the island, all vying for the chance to be named the best in their divisions (results provided at end of press release).
 
Due to popular demand, this year’s festival also welcomed back the “invitational division,” which featured six of the world’s most skilled and graceful solo dancers, many of whom have won titles in major heiva (celebration of Tahitian culture). After three rounds of heated competition it was Manarii Gauthier of Tahiti Mana and Kauluwehiokekai Oliver of Urahutia Productions who captured the vahine (women’s) and tane (men’s) crowns respectively.
 
“As a festival already rich with sight and sound, the setting of the Tahitian Village really gave it an authentic feel,” said Alfred Grace, PCC’s Chief Operating Officer. “From the visually stunning landscaping and authentic Tahitian structures to the smell of tiare flowers and freshly baked coconut bread, it’s proof that one doesn’t have to go across the ocean to experience Tahitian culture and spirit.”
 
The solo competition focuses strictly on the otea style of dance. The otea is the best-known Tahitian style of dance because of the fast, rhythmic movements and swishing hau skirts. Tane dancers were judged on their paoti – the masculine style of ori Tahiti that features sharp movements of the legs.Vahine dancers were judged on their faarapu. This feminine dance is the more familiar style of ori Tahiti, characterized by quick hip movements. Dancers are judged in each category based on their skill, grace, and, for the otea, speed. All dancers were also judged on their costume, the coordination and timing of their dance with the drumming and the overall presentation of their performance.
 
This annual festival is sponsored in part by Tahitian Noni International.

Listed below are the complete results from the 13th Annual Te Mahana Hiroa O Tahiti Festival.
 
13TH ANNUAL TE MAHANA HIROA O TAHITI WINNERS

Invitational Division
 
Vahine: Kauluwehiokekai Oliver, Urahutia Productions
Tane: Manarii Gauthier, Tahiti Mana
 
Solo Competition

Vahine Divisions
Age 4-5             
1. Dallas Deuz, Maohi Nui
2. Enjoli Tagoai, Independent

Age 6-7            
1. Dionisia Robinson, Manutahi Tahiti
 
Age 8-9
1. Nicole Graham, Tamatoa
2. Jolie Nicolai, Manutahi Tahiti
3. Alyssa Asuncion, Te Vai Ura Nui

Age 10-11            
1. Kamalani Pule, Independent
2. Destiny-Rose Bataya, Ia Ora O Tahiti Nui
3. Brooke Ancheta, Tamatoa
 
Age 12-13            
1. Denise Robinson, Manutahi
2. Tehani Perkins, Te Vai Ura Nui
3.  Sierrah Baldomero, Maohi Nui
 
Age 14-15
1. Natalie Oloa, Kalena's Polynesian Ohana
2. Cassandra Kanoho, Te Vai Ura Nui
3. Tiana Wong, Independent
 
Age 16-18
1. Tara Teriipaia, Manutahi
2. Meleane Uta, Te Vai Ura Nui
 
Tane Divisions
Age 6-7
1. Tavanni Tafisi, Maohi Nui
 
Age 8-9            
1. Kainoa Sago-Sumaong, Manutahi Tahiti
2. Jiovanni Tafisi, Maohi Nui
 
Age 10-11            
1. Makana Ganon, Kalena's Polynesian Ohana

For the first time in the competition's history family members, friends and fans from around the globe were able to view every breathtaking performance through PCC’s live stream at Polynesia.com.
 
“The 20th Annual World Fireknife Championships held in May was the first festival that the we live streamed and due to the tremendous response we received, we’re now planning to live stream all of our cultural events, including the upcoming Te Manahua Maori Cultural Arts Competition,” said Raymond Magalei, PCC’s director of marketing.
 
The Te Manahua Maori Cultural Arts Competition begins on Thursday, August 2 with the Haka Hard and Poi-e competitions. The following night, Friday, August 3, features the Hawaii debut of two of New Zealand’s top artists, Maisey Rika and Ria Hall. Te Manahua concludes with the Maori Performing Arts Competition on Saturday, August 4.

Source: PCC media release



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