Te Pū Fenua is the thousand year old Polynesian tradition of burying the placenta upon a child's birth, continuing our eternal relationship between our people and Te Mama Fenua, Mother Earth. A rite that had survived attempted erasure by colonizers. Too often women, their bodies, and the creation of their bodies, are deemed vile & sinful, biohazard and lesser than. Many mothers have fought for decades to revive the rite to carry home with them the incredible creation that had come from their own body and had protected their babies before birth - their placenta - so that it may be buried in their homeland, in the fenua, beneath a tumu, or with the moana, by whatever means to connect their children to the land that raised their tūpuna. I lift my hands to these metua vahine who have paved the way that one day I may also take part in te pū fenua, and my child may know the roots of their ancestors. Māuruuru mai tō'u mafatu te mau metua vahine!
4th place ages 25-34
As the incredible Ra'atira Tiana Liufau explains a dancer should be, have the grace of Hina and the power of 'Oro! Ua te'ote'o roa vau ia 'oe e Pūpahu! Your dedication and love and commitment is the soul of Huraiti Mana! On to the next!
Save our Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in Washington State! So proud of our Huraiti who have worked so hard throughout quarantine, with 100% of practices unfortunately via zoom. We have had only virtual classes for the past 7 months since the loss of our studio due to COVID measures taken by building management as well as huraiti's joint efforts & conscious choice to minimize the spread of this deadly illness. Across Washington, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders continue to have the highest contraction and highest death rate due to COVID - more than any other ethnic group and by extremely high margins. Though we long to be together, myself side by side with my Tamari'i, we are proud to continue our part, in what little steps or big we can take, in saving our people.
We are proud to participate in an event advocating for the same, remaining socially distant but culturally close. Opportunities such as these throughout 2020 has been unprecedented and invaluable in keeping our spirits high, our goals aligned, our bodies moving, and our ā'au fulfilled. Māuruuru from the bottom of our hearts. E fa'aitoito!
Much mahalo to Hulala Living and 'Ori 'Ori Lympics for creating competition and community in a time when we thought we'd be left without both; a year full of what was at first full-stops and isolation has become a year of fulfilling change and collective connection (in many more ways than one!). We at Huraiti Mana have so gladly been a part of 'Ori 'Ori Lympic online and the very many workshops that have led us to learn and grow from the leaders in our 'Ori Community as well as reconnect with FÄti'i around the world and our collective aroha for the 'Ori Tahiti. Truly, mÄuruuru to Hulala Living and judges Tahia Cambet of O Tahiti Nui and Hinatea Colombani of Ari'oi Cultural Center for your kindness, warmth & 'ite.
We at Huraiti Mana extend our sincerest gratitude to Nemenzo for creating the first virtual Heiva i San Francisco 2020 with esteemed judges Matatini Mou (Best Female Dancer, Heiva i Tahiti 2019), Tiana Liufau (Director of Nonosina), and Hinatea Colombani of The Ari'oi Cultural Center of Tahiti! The event was filled with love for and celebration of a beautiful legacy, culture, history, tradition, and people! Some for their first time, we entered 3 of our huraiti! And we are so warmed and humbled to receive 2nd in Premier 26-35yrs and 1st in the unique Hō'ē Tu'ura'a 'Āvae challenge! Māuruuru for providing us this opportunity of challenge & growth as well as resilience of culture in these times. So much cultural connectivity in this 'ori Tahiti community while we are physically apart.
Above: Tumu parau: Kalei'okalani was inspired by poet and defender of culture Patrick Araia Amaru and his poem titled "Te Hiro'a e te Iho Tumu," Culture and Identity. Kalei'okalani searches for her culture and origins, calling upon the fenua, the tupuna, the atua, grasping for any 'ite, any knowledge of the past. And through this search for identity, she discovers that her lineage lives within her, her sacred ā'au.
The above was a unique and innovative Tu'ura'a Hō'ē 'Āvae challenge as a part of Heiva i San Francisco! The Tāmau and the Fa'arapu are the two core basics of which all other tu'ura'a are extensions and variations. Tāmau means consistently or constantly and is the core of 'āfata, 'amaha, tā'iri toma (toma toma, tā'iri piti), etc. Fa'arapu, meaning to mix or stir, is your core for tūmami, tāhapeape, and other circular motions.
We chose Tāmau. Steps included: tā'iri, 'āfata, 'amaha, hue, toma toma (teki, raro), 'ōtamu, tatu'e
Tumu parau: Kalei'okalani is a survivor of sexual assault and likens her story, and the story of far too many, to that of the tumu, the tree or source. She admires the tumu for its strength and life-giving property, its growth and its beauty. And though a tree's body may be cut, maimed, and nearly destroyed, she wills the power to grow again, her far-reaching branches extended to the skies.
Heiva i San Francisco was our first virtual competition! Katie entered with an 'ōte'a dedicated to te va'a, the voyaging canoe, and the travels of Polynesians across the Pacific. Krystine's tumu parau (source/theme) was nehenehe, or Vahine Purotu, the beauty of women. 'Ua te'ote'o tātou ia 'ōrua!
I am so proud and honored to represent Huraiti Mana at the first-ever Hura Tini competition at this year's Heiva i Honolulu, an incredible opportunity to compete not in age categories but in a two-part competition of mehura and ote'a, the two signatures of Tahiti Nui International competitions. I also owe all my love and knowledge of ori Tahiti to the Pupu Ori I grew up with and have shaped the path of my ori life, Ma'ohi Nui. Mauruuru roa to Marisol for creating a beautiful mehura outfit for me in brilliant red to perform an impromptu number. Maruuru to my Huraiti Mama who, as always, was backstage with me, detailing my looks and making sure I eat! Mauruuru to all my 'ohana, including all my huraiti at Huraiti Mana, and most especially e ku'uipo! Our community has been so incredibly supportive and loving, sending all their mana to us wherever we've traveled. It's been a great long year of growth and learning, and I am so honored to round out Huraiti Mana's 2019 year of competition with a 4th Overall Win at Hura Tini! We will continue to hone our techniques and improve our skills as we head into 2020!
Meeting the huraiti in Kaua'i felt like the rightful culmination of our year-long solo competition journey as a team: all the solo competition practice hours, all the sweat, all the air travel, the rent-a-cars, the hotels and workshops. It's all lead us to a beautiful long weekend in the Garden Isle, Kaua'i island. With flying in two days prior to the competition (and not the morning-of!), we were able to rest, relax, and spend daylight hours picking fresh vegetation and weaving our regalia pieces. We practiced on the white-sand beaches and, in the calm of the waves, performed an impromptu hule mele, Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai for and to the kai (ocean) itself. I am happy to bring back 3rd place for our Pupu Ori, Huraiti Mana's first-ever award in the Hawaiian islands! We set the stage ablaze in the Hawai'i heat, and returned home beautifully connected. Mahalo a mauruuru roa e ku'u vahine huraiti! Maita'i 'outou!
Mahalo to all who made Heiva i Kaua'i possible with the many talented vendors, amazing Pupu Ori in group competition, and all the supporting 'ohana! Organizers of the fete were so interested to hear we were from Seattle, as do all organizers and participants with every competition we attend. Seattle is home to a rich Polynesian community and dancing community we are so very honored to represent! To dance and make Tahitian people proud is our humble passion and blessing.
Huraiti Mana made our first-ever appearance at Hura Tahiti 2019! It was a very, very long road, even in comparison to all the traveling we had done thus far for solo competitions! Landing back in California, we fought a that famous CA traffic, arriving to our hotel with barely any minutes to spare before heading to our Ori Tahiti workshops with master Hirohiti Tematahotoa (and sister Diva!!), ra'atira of Hanatika and director of Ecole de Danse de Tahitienn e Heiva in Papeete. After 11 total hours of travel, we showed up to our first workshop, the mehura, coming in hot off the freeway and spent the next amazing 5 hours learning, dancing, and having an amazing time. Our second workshop for Ote'a quickly changed and morphed into an amazing Ori Tahiti Solo competition workshop with both Hiro and Diva providing invaluable feedback for each dancer - from the young tamari'i in the class to each Huraiti who were soaking up every word. Hiro and Diva are so full of ite, so full of knowledge and strength and love and passion. Diva, we also learned, was crowned the best dancer at Heiva i Tahiti in the 80s and was the first ori Tahiti dancer to introduce the tifeni with a fa'arapu! My hero!
We hope to bring Hiro up to Seattle sometime soon to partake in an Ori Tahiti dance workshop in the Pacific Northwest! As Huraiti Mana continues to learn and grow here in Seattle, was also want to continue to find ways to contribute to this rich Polynesian, Tahitian dance community in the PNW.
Leaving the workshops around 11PM, we headed back to our hotels to begin working on our regalia pieces. My mother spent a sleepless night sewing every petal onto my tape'a titi (top) while I braided my hei upo'o (headpiece) and sewed song of India to my huraiti's hei upo'o. We recommend never to spend the entire night before a long competition creating your regalia - but with the beautiful workshops we attended and the amazing people we met, we wouldn't have it any other way. Traveling, we weren't able to bring tents to shade us in the outdoor changing areas - but we were lucky in finding shade beneath a staircase area next to an amazing and talented group of tamari'i from Pupu Ori Te Vaka Nui (who put on the Ori Fest we attended shortly before this competition!). We suited, we danced, and we thoroughly enjoyed. We didn't bring in a W this time, but it was a priceless opportunity to connect, to grow, and to be a part. Mahalo to everyone at Hura Tahiti 2019!
Huraiti Mana's first time joining Te Ori Here solo dance competition featuring Sefa Drums as the house drummers! Our idols! As expected, Sefa drumbeats were electric and truly intensified our performance! We're so happy to have had the opportunity to dance live to these amazingly talented and creative drumming masters, especially after hearing their Moemoea album for so long.
This was one of our Huraiti's first-ever solo competition, and we're so immensely proud of her! She flew a red-eye flight from Seattle to San Fransico after emceeing a late-night event, spent the night at the airport, and flew in hot-off-the-press Saturday morning straight into the competition! DEDICATION! We've found that traveling for solo competitions can be difficult, but workshops, meeting new dancers, and competing, can be so incredibly rewarding! Eci and I made it to finals but didn't bring in the top 3 in our categories this time! Mahalo and mauruuru to all those who work so diligently to create an amazing event.
Huraiti Mana made a splash at our very first trip to Ori Fest in Las Vegas, NV! Huraiti spent the night before the prestigious competition at the host Pupu Ori's studio, Tevakanui, for 4 hours of ori workshops with judges Tylon Buendia and Adelina Hanere. Their spirit, wisdom, and love for ori Tahiti was palpable, and it was an evening spent among so many talented and passionate dancers. Tylon reminded us that we dance in competitions to not only compete but to meet others and to share in this love we have for Ori Tahiti! We continue to learn and grow, together. Adelina showed us the power we have as strong women in ori Tahiti - a theme that found its way into the forces of the competition itself!
After a hard fought Ori Tahiti first and final round, I was fortunate to bring home first place in ages 23-27 category, celebrating a first-ever win for our Huraiti Mana! Taking first in another age category was none other than my own Ra'atira from (previously) Ma'ohi Nui of O'ahu and now currently Ra'atira of Ali'itasi of Utah, Agnes Manuma! For the first time in over a decade since moving from O'ahu and last seeing each other, I was honored to dance onstage alongside Agnes! But for the first time ever, we were competing together for the Overall Grand Prize! Along with renowned dancer Melanie Amen, the three of us tied for Overall. We were asked to dance again - and this time, with a surprise theme!
The theme: Toa Hine.
It was a battle of strength, knowledge, and passion. After such a powerful performance, my ra'atira Agnes took home the grand champion overall prize! I'm so proud to have learned from her and owe so much to her for my love and strength in ori Tahiti. Mauruuru e Agnes! Can't wait to see you again at the next competition. She truly is the embodiment of toa hine. A woman warrior.
I'm so proud of our huraiti Katie & Eci for competing in such a challenging and exciting competition. They inspire me and motivate me to continue working and to represent Huraiti Mana to the very best of my ability. Their fire and strength empowered me throughout the night. All my love & aloha to their dedication, perseverance, and strength. Together, we all are toa hine!
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