With gratitude in my heart for all participants of this year’s event, I reach out to you with the fondest “māuruuru roa”.
Heiva I Honolulu 2016 truly exemplified the long lasting commitment to the Tahitian culture by all participants. When Tahiti Nui International was created, the primary objective was to create a format that would provide room for creativity, while maintaining traditional values and practices, as well as room for progress with the ever-changing times. I am indeed grateful to each of you, who have committed yourselves to similar goals in your own lives and shared them with us at Heiva I Honolulu.
This year’s event took us all to a new venue, the Neil Blaisdell Arena. Though it offered us so much comfort, I’m sure many of us longed for the “good ‘ol times” of the Waikiki Shell. Thank you to groups, soloists and vendors for adapting so easily to the new location.
Many memorable moments will be associated with the location transition. This year we would like to recognize Ia Ora O Tahiti Nui, directed by Kevin and Auli’I Kama and Te Iriata’I Ora, directed by Keali’i Bush. Group presentations require much time, effort, and funds and for that I am so grateful. Ia Ora Tahiti Nui in grand style took home this year the Hura Tau 2016 Grand Champion award winning First Place in Hura Tau Overall Ote’a, Drumming and Mehura categories. While Te Iriata’i Ora, with their creative drumming presentation, went home with a fiercely close to first, Second Place award in the drumming category.
The 2016 Solo Competition this year had just as competitive participants. Heiva I Honolulu has never experienced as many age categories requiring a Second Round to narrow the tough competition to a final four showdown in the Final Rounds. Newcomers from Te Mau Aito O Hiro of Hilo Hawaii and Rai Marama of Tokyo, Japan provided quality solo competitors to the mix. Heiva I Honolulu original group participant, Maohi Nui, not only had the most solo competitors this year, but also took home the most solo awards. Ali’itasi soloists were the rage in the Tamari’i solo division, owning that stage like seasoned participants. Toae Tumu Nonosina Hawaii, refreshing their name in honor of Heiva I Honolulu founder and Tahitian Cultural legend Raymond Mariteragi, brought forth seasoned competitors in the Tane and Vahine division, raising the level of competition for all. I would like to pay special recognition to our 2016 Overall Solo Winners, Vahine – Pua Baker of Maohi Nui and Tane – Tripler Fiapai, Independent. Congratulations to all for excellent performances.
In closing, I would like to share my deepest “māuruuru roa” to each of you for your participation in honoring one of the greatest Tahitian cultural legends, one of our Founders and former President, Raymond Toae Mariteragi. I would like to recognize the group Toae Tumu Nonosina for their emotionally moving Mehura performed to Raymond Mariteragi’s favorite songs. His legend truly lives on through his family and through each of us as we continue to perpetuate our culture and support each other in all we aspire. I look forward to continuing the tradition with all of you in 2017.
‘A fa’arii mai te tapa’o no te Aroha Nui mai to tatou ‘ai’a tumu o Tahiti Nui māre’are’a Rose Perreira, President