Heiva i Tahiti 2011 activities have already started in Tahiti this year. Amateur dance groups have held exhibition performances as the heralded Toata Place in Papeete starting last week. The annual event brings together some of the best from all parts of French Polynesia. Activities not only include traditional Tahitian dance, or ori Tahiti, but also drumming, sport including canoe, or va'a, racing and for the first time, the Miss Tahiti pageant.
The official grand opening will take place this evening at the Conservatoire Artistique de Polyésie Française. This will be followed by the Miss Tahiti pageant next Friday evening, June 24. The current reigning Miss Tahiti, Lucie Poehere Wilson, hails from Laie, Hawaii and has been a consistent award winning dancer at many of the heiva in the US. She will hand over the crown to the 51st Miss Heiva from a field of 16 young women competing this year.
From there, starting July 1st, the Heiva i Tahiti Va'a first round race will start from Papeete Harbor. Races will continue the following day and on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 14th. Traditional athletic events will take place starting the 14th and include javelin throwing, stone lifting, copra (coconut) husking, fruit carrying racing, boat racing, and coconut tree climbing.
Traditional dance, music and drumming competitions will occur throughout the month starting Friday July 1 with an exhibition Fireknife spectacular. The song competition will start off with two groups competing in the evening - Tamarii Hautimatea and Vaihoataua. And in the Hura Tau dance category NONAHERE, who last competed in 2008, will again compete and looks to repeat for a 3rd crown in the last 5 years. The group is led by Matani Kainuku and is based in Mahina.
Returning title holder, FARE IHI NO HUAHINE, under the direction of Paul Tehare, will be the final performing dance group of the festivities. The awards will be given out the following week on Thursday, July 21 and a special encore performance by the new title holder and other award winners will take place the following evening.
Here's the schedule for the dance groups:
Friday, July 1
NONAHERE (Hura Tau)
Saturday, July 2
ORA PAPEETE TO'U PARE (Hura Ava Tau)
MANAHAU (Hura Tau)
Thursday, July 7
HITITAU (Hura Ava Tau)
AHUTORU NUI (Hura Tau)
Friday, July 8
HANATIKA (Hura Ava Tau)
TAMARII PAPARA (Hura Tau)
Saturday, July 9
TE UI NO PARE NUI (Hura Ava Tau)
TOAKURA (Hura Tau)
Friday, July 15
PUPU TUHAA PAE (Hura Ava Tau)
TAHITI ORA (Hura Tau)
Saturday, July 16
TAMARII PUNAAUIA (Hura Ava Tau)
FARE IHI NO HUAHINE (Hura Tau)
Thursday, July 21
Friday, July 22
NIGHT OF THE WINNERS OF HEIVA I TAHITI 2011