A spirited day of Maori culture and performing arts at the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 13th annual Te Manahua Maori Cultural Arts Festival on August 31, 2013, marked the beginning of a special eight-day celebration for the Center’s 50th anniversary.
Te Awhiorangi, a high school kapa haka group from Taupo, New Zealand, won first place in the PCC’s 13th annual Te Manahua Maori festival.
Groups from across the state and as far as New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Utah captivated the enthusiastic crowd at PCC’s Pacific Theater with traditional Maori kapa haka (performing arts), featuring a large group competition and small group competitions in Haka Hard! and Poi-e.
“I’d like to commend all of this year’s participants for their tremendous efforts,” said Seamus Fitzgerald, Aotearoa village manager. “It’s wonderful to see our (Maori) people come together from all over the world to celebrate and perpetuate the Maori heritage.”
Six small groups demonstrated their best skills in the Poi-e and Haka Hard! categories, with Kahurangi and Te Hokioi earning the highest combined scores in each category, respectively. (See complete results below)
In the Haka Hard! competition, the men of Te Hokioi dressed in Rugby uniforms earned first place for their amusing performance that captured the competitive spirit of the dance. Traditional Maori haka were performed by war-parties in training and prior to battle and were meant to record histories.
The Competition Group category featured two teams from opposite sides of the equator, with New Zealand’s own Te Awhiorangi — a high school kapa haka group from Taupo — edging out Te Tini-a-Mau — a group of expatriate Maori now living in Vancouver, B.C.— to take the top honor. The group performances incorporate several different elements of Maori kapa haka including Poi-e and haka in a longer format presentation.
Multi-generational members of Te Hokioi, comprised of Maori and friends from the PCC and surrounding communities, shared their kapa haka during PCC’s 2013 Te Manahua Maori festival.
A panel of expert judges from New Zealand evaluated each group on several criteria including execution, motions, stage personality, creativity, and choreography.
Guests were also treated to special exhibition performances throughout the day including a powerful performance from a New Zealand national contending group, Nga Uri o te Whanoa. The group’s strong soulful voices and dynamic choreography were in perfect harmony throughout their presentation, which featured a mix of contemporary with traditional Maori performing arts.
A second exhibition by Te Aroha Nui Maori Company including 14 members of the original group of 144 that performed during the Center’s grand opening ceremony on October 12, 1963, set the stage for PCC’s Golden Anniversary Celebration.
In commemoration of the 50th anniversary, the PCC is hosting special events and activities at the Center and in Laie from Sept. 2-7, including FREE nightly concerts starting at 5:45 p.m. and featuring John Cruz (Sept. 2), Kapena (Sept. 3), Hi’ikua (Sept. 4), the PCC/BYUH Alumni Brass Band (Sept. 5), and Irie Love (Sept. 7). The concerts are open to the pubic and will be held at the entrance of the Center.
Results, Haka Hard Competition:
1. Te Hokioi
2. Nga Uri O Te Whanoa
3. BYUH Kiwi Club
2. Te Whanau o Tuhikaramea
3. Nga Uri O Te Whanoa
1. Te Awhiorangi
2. Te Tini-a-Maui